The Project

The innovation behind MUBIC project is that it creates a resource cycle between biogas production, mushroom production, and energy & nutrient recovery. This establishes a sustainable circular system where low value waste is converted to high value food.

Project Background

Mushroom producers either make their own substrate or purchase it from external suppliers. Once the mushrooms are harvested, the used substrate cannot be reused and needs to be eliminated, which is costly. On the other hand, the huge challenge for biogas plants is in securing the raw material supply that is used to produce biogas. Thus, there is increasing competition for biomass in general (especially biogas).
AST has developed an innovative method to produce a new substrate that enables optimal recovery of nutrients and provides highly efficient use of biomass at low costs. The solution focuses on mushroom production based on the new substrate in partnership with Panbo Systems. When using the Panbo system, a 50% reduction in substrate production costs can be realized, nutrients that would otherwise be lost can be recovered, and biogas production optimized. Read more about the project consortium here.

Project Objectives

AST and Panbo
The intention of the overall innovation project is to build on the results from the Horizon 2020 Phase 1 project, where the AST solution was validated both technically and economically.
With the funding from Horizon 2020, this Phase 2 project aims to create a resource cycle between:

  • Biogas production
  • Mushroom production
  • Energy and nutrient recovery

This cycle will establish a circular system in which low-value waste will be converted into high-value food. Throughout the 24 project months, AST aims to achieve the four main project objectives:

  1. Establishment of AST plant in commercial scale as an add-on to a biogas plant in Denmark (WP 2, 3 5)
  2. Establishment of a Panbo Tray System plant in commercial scale for mushroom production in the Netherlands (WP 4, 6)
  3. Validate a 50% reduction in production costs of mushroom production substrate (WP 6)
  4. Validate feasibility on ROI of maximum 3 years of investment in the AST plant for mushroom producers (WP 5)


The main impact of this project lies in the multifaceted values it provides to both mushroom producers and biogas plants.

Value Proposition for Mushroom Producers

  • Lower price of substrate used to grow the mushrooms
  • Tray system production cycle that allows central picking and lower harvesting cost
  • Security for substrate delivery in a competitive biomass supply environment
  • Sustainable reuse- and elimination of expenses for spent substrate
  • Up to 50% reduction in mushroom production price

Value Proposition for Biogas Producers

  • Transformation of digestate (the material remaining after the anaerobic digestion of a biodegradable feedstock) into high value products
  • Better usage of energy potential and nutrition recovery
  • Better use of biogas plant capacity
  • A new business case exploiting the circular system facilitated by AST plant
  • Ensure organic input material for biogas production
  • New revenue stream in sales of substrate for mushroom growers