Concept for the preparation of the demo project "KernCraft Austria"
Compilation and integration of activities carried out in the field of cascade utilisation of stone fruits seeds ("KernCraft Austria") and planning of a demonstration project to start implementation of "KernCraft Austria".
There have been two projects on the use of cascades of the pits in stone fruits as part of the so-called "factory of tomorrow" programme. These projects focused on the basic research work required for the utilisation of drupes, which are residues produced in large quantities by the food industry and have not been discovered for their potential value.
The objective was to develop a financing plan for the implementation of a commercial demonstration project, "KernCraft Austria". The data required was derived from activities which had been carried out in the context of cascade utilisation of stones from stone fruits and from research on the information needed for an economically feasible implementation. The "KernCraft Austria" plant will contribute significantly to the minimization of resource input using residual waste, which reduces pressure on the environment.
Data was collected from existing research activities in the field of biocascading of fruit-stones and new research on missing information.
The research provides information on technical facilities, deduction of modular components for a gradual implementation, market-relevant data (suppliers, competitors, buyers) and development of product innovations. The results were transferred into a business plan (including a plan by stages and funding). In addition, the final report comprises data from the research factory of the KernCraft Biotech GmbH company (implemented in autumn 2006), which is planning to invest in the "KernCraft Austria" demonstration plant.
After collecting the data available and assessing the information missing, research using the web, as well as interviews with experts and potential suppliers and purchasers (in Austria, EU and China) and scientific articles helped to fill the gaps. Offers from financial service providers and machine construction companies were used to estimate costs and financing options. Former ideas for product development were revised focusing on the utilization of stone shells for non-food applications.
Results and conclusions
Concept for a time scale and a plan by stages for the implementation of the demonstration plant "KernCraft Austria"
The basic concept for a time scale and plan by stages for the implementation of the demonstration plant "KernCraft Austria" considers the installation of a research plant by KernCraft Biotech GmbH, which will be used as a research and development facility in the prospective commercial plant. The great relevance of the research factory results from the fact, that it is not feasible to provide the entire product range from the start, but return flow from first products is needed for funding. Product development and diversification will be implemented in staggered modules, starting with kernel oils (the most developed product) to ensure a rapid return flow.
Extensions of technical facilities follow the development of product range modules. Data from market research concerning competitors and sales potential and material costs for technical equipment are the basis for decisions on time scale and plan by stages.
Financial calculations show that a minimum of 550 tons of stones per year have to be processed from the first year on for a profitable production process. Residual material from oil-milling - hard shell particles and press cake - contributes considerably to the profitability of "KernCraft Austria". Therefore product extension (of the product ideas that exist at the moment) has to be finished until the third or forth year at the latest. This includes the now rarely offered oils from plum and cherry kernels, which are high-value products.
Product range extension
Prospective buyers of hard shell particles for various applications were found, who were interested in the performance of product tests. Hard shell particles as abrasives seem to have great potential in special applications, where the utilization of renewable material may offer an advantage. Competitive materials, such as olive stones and the more economic walnut shells, may limit the use of fruit-stone particles in this sector to niche markets. These markets should therefore be the focus of further investigations. Because hard shells as filler material offer a nice visual appearance, they could be successfully marketed in the decor sector. Further analytical procedures have to be carried out to perform tests with hard shell particles as fillers in car tyres.
"Nawaros Planer": tool for planning demonstration plants for bio-cascading of renewable material
An Excel-Tool for profitability calculations and planning of product extensions was developed during this project, which includes various kinds of feedstock (for example peach, apricot, cherry and plum stones) and information on the production of a broad range of products. The tool may be easily adapted to the use for other demonstration plants.
Status quo of the preparation steps for the implementation of "KernCraft Austria"
During the project duration the company KernCraft Biotech GmbH for the establishment of a research factory for fruit-stones was formed. The goal is to build the demonstration plant "KernCraft Austria". The data collected in this project provided valuable information for this aim. Decision makers of KernCraft Biotech GmbH were involved in this project and have already used intermediate results for decisions on capital investment.
Mag. Dr. Susanne Geissler
Project or cooperation partner
- Dr. Siegrun Klug, Mag. Josef Farthofer, DI (FH) Mag. Veronika Reinberg, Mag. (FH) Manfred Huchler
- Hanswerner Mackwitz MSc, DI (FH) Angelika Wukowits, Mag. Stefanie Wallner
- Ing. Kurt Kreihsler
KernCraft Biotech GmbH
- Mag. (FH) Eva Pfeiffer, DI Michael Pernkopf, Mag. (FH) Horst Strohmeier, Marija Berdal, Daniela Pexa, Verena Hofbauer, Christoph Silly, Sihui Lang
StudentInnen der FHWN Wieselburg
Mag. Susanne Geissler
Tel.: +43 (7416) 53000-530
Fax: +43 (7416) 53000-2222