The rendering industry is the backbone of the meat industry. The rendering industry collects animal body parts (not fit for human consumption) and repurposes them. By repurposing wastes, the rendering industry allows for a stable production of meats while preventing the need to send wastes to a landfill. However, some animal body parts such as hog hairs, nails, hoofs, and others have little values even to the rendering industry and still end up on landfills. With regulations on organic waste disposals becoming more stringent, current meat production processes are becoming increasingly unsustainable.
Capitalizing on the idea that waste is no longer waste but a resource, Tomorrow Water aims to convert undesirable wastes into marketable value-added products. If successful, not only will this process generate a new revenue for the rendering industry, but also contribute to building a sustainable society.
We use a combination of a thermal hydrolysis reactor (COWT) without the use of any chemicals and a membrane filtration system (FMX) to achieve this goal. COWT is used to extract valuable proteins from animal body parts while FMX (anti-fouling membrane system) is used to recover desirable products. The following are some of the examples:
The demand for meat has been rising with the growing world population. As a result, more feed is required to grow livestock animals. Currently, almost half of the crops such as corn and soybeans are being used to feed livestock animals. An increasingly high dependence on crops for feed on limited croplands is not sustainable. Recycling protein from animal body parts at a rendering plant for feed may alleviate the burden of supply. One factor determining the value of protein feed repurposed from animal body parts is its digestibility by livestock animals. Feeds vary in its digestibility and the value of the feed increases with its digestibility. One way to increase the digestibility of protein feed is to hydrolyze protein to its smallest building blocks, amino acids which are easily absorbed by animals.
Tomorrow Water uses thermal hydrolysis reactor (COWT) to hydrolyse protein into amino acids without the use of chemical. Water can function as a strong reducing or oxidizing agent at high temperatures under high pressures to hydrolyze protein1.
Keratin hydrolysates are increasingly used for both medical and cosmetic purposes. Some of the animal body parts such as hog hairs, wool, skin, and nails include a large amount of keratin. Using thermal hydrolysis reactor (COWT), keratin can be extracted under the right conditions. After keratin hydrolysates have been extracted from the waste products, FMX (anti-fouling membrane system) can be used to recover hydrolysates with given molecular weights2.