LIFE-Brewery - New Strategies for Improving the Sustainability of Breweries: Full Waste Recovery for Aquaculture Feed

LIFE16 ENV/ES/000160

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Contact details:

Contact person: David San Martin
Tel: 34667174315
Fax: 34946572555
Email: dsanmartin@azti.es

Project description:


Brewing has negative environmental impacts both during production and in the waste management phase. The largest waste by volume is brewers’ spent grain (BSG), followed by brewers’ yeast. Some 70% of BSG is used as feed, but due to its high moisture content and microbial load it has a shelf life of less than 48 hours. Around 10% of spent grain goes to produce biogas, and the remaining 20% is landfilled. Every tonne of BSG in landfill releases 513 kg CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases.

Waste brewers’ yeast is mixed with wastewater and discharged for treatment. As well as being a waste of resources, the effluent generates 83 kg CO2 equivalent for every tonne of waste treated.

Both by-products of the brewing process have circular economy potential, either in food, feed or for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. In order to realise this potential, it is necessary to scale-up pilot technologies into solutions able to cope with large volumes.


The objective of the LIFE-Brewery project is to demonstrate an innovative and highly-replicable integrated solution to recover brewery by-products as aquaculture-feed ingredients. Demand for such ingredients is growing. The project will optimise and scale up a low-carbon dehydration process, using an innovative combination of mechanical and thermal technologies for obtaining a sustainable meal from brewery by-products.

Aqua-feed formulas will also be optimised to maximise the amount that can be included in the diet of farmed fish.

By adding value to food waste, the project is targeting one of the priority areas of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. Its goals are also in line with the waste hierarchy established in the Waste Framework Directive. And by helping to reduce the operating costs of fish farmers it contributes to the EU’s new Common Fisheries Policy. In addition, the use of the fish meal replacement will reduce the need to catch wild fish, contributing to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Expected results:

  • One semi-industrial drying plant in Spain, combining mechanical and thermal technologies for drying brewery by-products to obtain a sustainable meal for aqua-feed;
  • A scheme to add value to two brewery by-products (spent grain and yeast) scaled-up and validated by stakeholders and a demonstration trial to produce two raw materials for aqua-feed;
  • Three sustainable aqua-feed diets containing two new raw materials from brewery by-products (spent grain and yeast meals) successfully tested in three different species through fish growth trials;
  • Recovery of 75% of BSG and brewer’s yeast in the case study during the demonstration trial: one tonne of each in meals, and two tonnes of experimental aqua-feeds;
  • An integrated basic model for a waste recovery plant, based on the eco-design concept and applicable in any region of Europe, allowing replication of the project’s solutions;
  • At least 95% of brewery by-products in Spain will be recycled two years after the end of the project;
  • 85% of brewery by-products will be recovered in two additional EU regions within three years of the end of the project (technology transfer);
  • A 25% reduction in the environmental impact associated with aqua-feed production of three commercial fish species within two years of the project’s end. This will be achieved by replacing at least 15% of the fish meal currently used with a new raw material from brewery by-products; and
  • Creation of up to 50 new jobs within three years of the end of the project.



Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Bio-waste (including food waste)
Waste - Waste recycling
Industry-Production - Food and Beverages


waste recycling‚  beverage industry

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundacin AZTI - AZTI Fundazioa
Type of organisation Research institution
Description AZTI is a non-profit private foundation which is committed to the social and economic development of the marine environment and the food sector. With 34 years of experience, the company has developed more than 2 000 projects with industries and public institutions.
Partners RIERA NADEU, S.A., Spain THE BREWERS OF EUROPE, Belgium Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), Spain LKS INGENIERÍA, SOCIEDAD COOPERATIVA, Spain


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/ES/000160
Duration 01-SEP-2017 to 30-JUN -2021
Total budget 1,551,455.00 €
EU contribution 874,952.00 €
Project location Bruxelles-Brussel(België - Belgique) País Vasco(España) Cataluña(España)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version