New opportunities for valorisation of the waste streams from the steam distillation of essential oils, using nanomembrane separation.

Basic Research Project funded by the National Science Fund – 2019
Duration: 06.12.2019 – 06.12.2022

Complex valorisation of waste products

The aim of the project proposal is to evaluate the possibilities for complex utilization of the waste products from the steam distillation in the production of essential oils from plant materials via nanomembrane separation. The object of valorisation will be the biologically active substances contained in the aromatic plants, other than the essential oils themselves, but the possibility of extracting additional amounts of essential oils from the waste liquid fractions by means of nanofiltration with suitable nanomembranes will also be explored.

Previous accomplishments and competencies of the research team

The team has a strong experience and internationally recognized achievements in the field of combining (integrating) solid-liquid extraction with nanofiltration in the extraction of useful components from plant materials. The prospects and problems arising from such combining (integration) have been clarified and a number of specific objects have been investigated, including rosmarinic acid from rosemary and waste plant material from lemon balm, caffeine and chlorogenic acid from coffee, polyphenolic antioxidants from propolis, Mursalski tea, grape seeds, hawthorn, coffee and more.

Leading departments of the basic organization

The research foreseen in the project proposal will be realized through effective cooperation between two of the leading in terms of volume and quality of the scientific production units of the basic organization – the Departments of Chemical engineering and Biotechnology. The members of the scientific team are evenly distributed between the two departments whose facilities will be available to the researchers during their work on the project.

Project management plan


election of objects for experimental verification of the possibility for valorisation by nanofiltration or by combining it with another traditional separation process.

  • from Month 1 to Month 12
  • Work package leader: Dr Nevena Lazarova-Zdravkova

Generation of waste fractions by steam distillation at laboratory scale, their collection from distilleries and study of the solid-liquid extraction of valuable substances from the waste plant mass.

  • from Month 7 to Month 21
  • Work package leader: Dr Chavdar Chilev

Experimental study of the isolation of valuable substances by means of nanofiltration and its combination with low-temperature crystallization or micro-encapsulation in a spouted-bed.

  • from Month 9 to Month 30
  • Work package leader: Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Peshev

Development and experimental validation of a model of a process diagram for valorisation involving nanofiltration.

  • from Month 22 to Month 36
  • Work package leader: Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Peshev


Project management
from Month 1 to Month 36
Work package leader: Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Peshev

Curriculum vitae

Get acquainted with the scientific biographies of the supervisor and the members of the research team.
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