The main purpose of the AGRY_GAYA’18 Project is to establish a circular innovative type industrial enterprise for organic silk /highly renewable resource/ with further utilization of waste products from primary production as high quality secondary raw materials, which would lay the foundations towards human and environmental prosperity in the most underdeveloped region of the EU.
On one hand, the project addresses the problems of the poorest and least developed EU region, and on the other hand it is geared to exploiting the potential of this region to find a solution to future global trends, related to population growth, excessive consumption and the demand for food.
The full circular and innovative manufacturing process is designed in a very complex way, following strict procedures, quality requirements and international best practices for organic raw silk production and the new innovative products in the plant. The by-products, which are the waste materials from the silk manufacturing are going to be turned into new commercial products with a high useful value.
The AGRY_GAYA’18 goals are to establish a first of its kind Territorial Bio Refinery in Europe based on insects, creating through regional infrastructures direct and indirect jobs across the value chain. Cross-industry collaboration between agro-industry, chemical, cosmetic, food and feed industries is considered a necessary step for reaching a full sustainability and industrial symbiosis.
- Thanks to the fully automated manufacturing process of organic silk, followed by re-manufacturing of waste materials into high quality proteins and the capacity of about 500 tons of fresh cocoons annually, minimum 60 tons’ raw silk yarn, 40 tons’ silk protein powder and around 20 tons of silk sericin will be produced.
- Silk proteins are natural bio polymers that can be used in diagnostics as biosensors and also in information technology as memory devices. Those kind organic high-performance material can be used in multiple ways, including in medical or technical products as well as cosmetic ingredients.
- Silkworm sericin is an inexpensive glycoprotein obtained as a by-product in the silk industry. This is a bio-compatible and biodegradable material because of some additional properties like gelling ability, moisture retention capacity, and skin adhesion.
- Silk Protein Powder: silkworms are the only identified insects that provide food, fibre and biomedical significance. One of the potential sustainable sources to alleviate the future protein deficit is the cocoon pupae from mulberry silkworm moth, Bombyx mori.
- Food supplement: the innovative food supplement is designed to provide the nutrients needed by the human body such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, fatty acids and amino acids that are lacking or cannot be obtained in sufficient quantities when consuming food.
- Lack of EU Regulation for silkworm protein powder to be permitted as officially permitted food. Currently, raw silk supplies mainly depend on China and EU fashion brands and manufactures are concerned by the long term access to quality raw silk and the risk of shortage.
- The project has to be funded locally due to its complexity and novelty. The financial model involves risk capital; it is a challenge to find partners/investors who has interests in the above mention areas.
- One of the main challenges in the AGRY_GAYA’18 Project is the lack of experienced workers in the areas of agricultural innovations, bio products, innovative textile technologies, entomology and nanotechnologies; migrant workers and in particular women migrants will be very welcome. This issue is also associated with greater efforts in the field of education at all levels and training of specialists throughout the region.
- Difficulties to find partners for the different stages of the project in terms of further development of the technology towards Technical textiles for the Medicine & Pharmacy Industries (MedTech). Silk cocoons are fully sustainable, non-perishable and climate-smart agricultural products. They are also very light, tough composites. Using cocoons as base materials, in combination with equally sustainable fillers, should help us make sustainable composites with many layers of complexity.
- Certificate procedures of the ready products is also a challenge due to many restrictions about those new types of products-protein, sericin and food supplement.
- National Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F.) of Greece
- “Svila” JSC, Bulgaria
- Prof. Tsvetkov, ex-Vice President of the Cryobiology and Lyophilization Commission at the International Cryogenics Institute in Paris
- Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Bulgary
- Textile Cluster “Silk”, Bulgary
- Nova-Institut GmbH, Germany;
- ITA Technologietransfer GmbH, Germany;
- NEXT TECHNOLOGY TECNOTESSILE srl, Italy;
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung (IAP), Germany;
- C-Voucher, Funding for implementing the production of a Feed Supplement for Poultry;
- TCT, Bulgary;
- AMSilk, Germany;
- VTT technical Research center, Finland;
- FUTAMURA, UK;
Dessislava Dimitrova / Victoria Demitrova
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