26. July 2023

Simulation for EcoBean's Sustainable Solution

What’s left after enjoying a good cup of coffee is often seen as waste – but EcoBean from Warsaw, Poland has shown that a number of valuable components can be made from spent coffee grounds (SCG). They have developed a refined sequence of processing steps to produce high-value chemicals like antioxidants, coffee-oil, polylactic acid and protein additives from SCG whilst leaving almost zero waste.

When designing an economically and technically feasible, yet robust and flexible process, a vast number of questions must be answered: How does the change of one process parameter influence the overall process? What is an ideal batch size for a given shift system? How do changes of the raw material composition influence the process yield? What is the right size for the buffer tanks?

INOSIM support for circular economy innovation

Modelling the process with a flexible, advanced simulation software like INOSIM and performing virtual experiments helps process engineers to decide on the best solutions to these challenges. The INOSIM Group has a history of supporting biotech start-ups on their way from idea to industrial process, e.g. bitop.

INOSIM does not only provide EcoBean with a software package, but also simulation-based services like software training and project support. In June 2023, INOSIM’s Dominik Wolff traveled to Warsaw to introduce the EcoBean team to the software and to kick off the setup of the simulation model. After his return to Germany, Dominik was “glad to meet the team in person and was impressed by the progress we already made in a few days. I am convinced the results of our upcoming simulation studies will help to bring EcoBean’s innovation to industrial application. As a coffee enthusiast myself, I am excited to see what can be created when seeing spent coffee ground as raw material.”

Digital twin solution is vital for mitigating technology scale-up risk

EcoBean CDO Maciej Majchrowicz: “Implementing a digital twin solution for us is an element of mitigating technology scale-up risk. It will allow us to design our installations in an optimized manner, to run and execute significantly more experiments and perform what-if-analyses. We are excited to work with INOSIM as their experience is unparalleled.”

With the INOSIM software, users create accurate digital twins of mixed-batch-continuous processes to gain insights for important business decisions. The recipe-based tool allows a lot of freedom to model even the most complex processes and production rules. By performing virtual experiments, users assess many different design approaches and can include process uncertainties to develop robust and economical solutions.

INOSIM CEO Peter Balling: “Our vision is to empower decision-making with innovative simulation tools and tailored services to contribute to a sustainable future worth living in. I am convinced that using bio-based feedstocks and understanding waste as raw material are a solution for today’s challenges. Therefore, I am excited to see that EcoBean and INOSIM have started this cooperation for a future circular economy.”

Do you have any questions or would like to know more about this topic? Please contact us.

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