- PROJECT CODE: BI-AT/23-24-024
- PROJECT TITLE: Infrared spectroscopy and atomic scale modelling for identification of valuable molecules in agricultural residuals (AGRO-SPEC)
- PROJECT TEAM: dr. Jakub Sandak (leader), Veerapandian Ponnuchamy, Anna Sandak, Albert Kravos, Richard Acquah
- PERIOD: 01. 01. 2023 – 31. 12. 2024
- BUDGET: 3000€
- FINANCING: Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS)
- PARTNERS: InnoRenew CoE (Slovenia), University of Innsbruck (Austria)
Circular bioeconomy and bio-based product development and production are becoming essential in the current transition from a fossil-based towards a new sustainable green economy. In this perspective, the possibility to valorize certain underexploited bio-based side streams and residues has huge advantages. Globally, 4.5 million tons of olive leaves are produced annually by the olive oil industry, a key industry in southern Europe. This remaining biomass represents a problem for both farmers and the whole industry as it needs to be removed from the fields and olive oil mills. Currently, this biomass is burned, given to cattle, or combusted to produce energy. The AGRO-SPEC project will use multiscale modelling to model valuable compounds presents in agricultural residuals and use modern portable spectroscopic methods to identify their presence in olive leaves directly onsite. The major innovation in this project is knowledge-based design philosophy applied to maximize analytical figure-of-merit of miniaturized near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic sensors, in which the chemical map of meaningful information processed in the spectra is actively used in the analytical framework. It is expected that the project will develop new methodology and advance state-of-theart solutions available for bio-based residual assessment. Consequently, it will contribute toward valorization of biomass promoting zero-waste approach in agricultural sector.
InnoRenew CoE project activities
InnoRenew CoE activities within frame of AGRO-SPEC are dedicated to the development of quantum chemical framework for simulation of NIR spectra of oleacein, and oleuropein, development of dynamic model of polymer matrix representing agricultural residuals, performing spectroscopic analysis of agricultural residuals, integrating the mentioned results into analytical methods, validation of models and protocols, and project coordination, dissemination and exploitation.