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    Cezar Paun: “A system of transfer of responsibility also in the field of bio-waste may need to be considered”

    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    Kohshin Europe is a relatively new company, established in 2019 and became operational in 2020, with joint Romanian-Japanese capital. The company represents on the European market Kohshin Engineering Co. in Japan, a company with over 50 years of experience and leader in the design and execution of livestock machinery and equipment. About products, customers, and circular economy I spoke with Cezar Păun, CEO Kohshin Europe.• ecologic

    ecologic: What are the benefits of composting technologies proposed by Kohshin Europe?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: Kohshin composting technology is based on the most efficient methods and procedures for the total disposal of municipal bio-waste, livestock manure and waste from slaughterhouses or other agricultural activities and for converting it into organic, granulated, hygienic, stable, homogeneous and high-efficiency fertilisers. The strengths of the technology consist of the high level of control over the biological and mechanical processes to which bio-waste is subjected and its rapid transformation flow into finished products (compost and/or organic fertilisers). The technology ensures the correct processing of the garbage, passing through all stages of the aerobic fermentation process, sanitizing the processed mass in a cycle of only 30 days.

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    ecologic: Are you considering expanding your activity in the production of fertilisers?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: Kohshin Europe does not currently have an organic fertiliser production activity. The first stage of Kohshin’s development strategy on the European market is the distribution of composting equipment in the competent territory, the target segment being that of intensive livestock farms, where we implicitly face large quantities of manure. Kohshin offers these farms a new center of profit by developing organic fertiliser production activities, with recouping of investments in periods from 2 to 5 years depending on capacity.

    Kohshin solutions can be customized according to the type of farm (birds, cattle, pigs) and their size, with the capacity of composting and rapid aerobic fermentation lines ranging from 4 tonnes/day to 70 tonnes/day of manure. By fermenting manure and waste on the farm, a process that takes place at temperatures of 60-70 degrees Celsius, the finished product is sterilized. Thus, the elimination of germs and parasites reduces the germination rate of seeds from manure to zero. In addition, the associated odors caused by the microbial breakdown of volatile compounds are eliminated by the use of effective odorisation systems.

    However, we do not exclude that in the medium term, i.e. in the second stage of strengthening Kohshin’s presence in Europe, we are also involved in the production of organic fertilisers or composting, by establishing partnerships with public or private entities generating compostable waste. Negotiations are already being initiated with various farms and higher education institutions, which provide for the development of recycling facilities. Our interest is both the realization of additional profits through the development and diversification of the activity, as well as the development of Kohshin’s involvement in implementing circular economy models with beneficial effects in terms of environmental protection

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    ecologic: How does your work fit into the circular economy concept?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: Kohshin’s technological lines turn waste into finished products, so on these grounds we can say that we are suppliers of equipment that is strictly intended for economic operators who transfer their activities to a circular economic model. Our technologies are not geared towards reducing waste generation, we address in particular those companies that, by the nature of their activity, naturally produce bio-waste and manure. A simple exercise that I propose reveals an optimal circularity result: For a company that generates 20.000 tonnes of compostable waste annually and has waste management costs of around EUR 80/tonne, the optimal solution is to assume the investment for an automated plant, located at the site where the waste is generated. With an investment effort equivalent to the annual waste management expenditure, the company can definitively solve the garbage problem, given that the revenues from the sale of the finished product cover the operating costs of the plant and beyond.

    What do we offer? Firstly, the reduction of expenditure, waste management resources and more the generation of new profits for the beneficiary of the installations.

    Secondly, we offer maximum efficiency given that composting stations operate continuously, and there is no need to build additional waste storage capacities and therefore reduce possible future investment efforts for growing companies.

    Automated composting lines are an up-grade for the current composting facilities, which often consist of simple garbage storage platforms where, with minor interventions on the compost mass, the ripening and decomposition of the waste is “expected”. Thirdly, we offer time. The processes carried out with Kohshin technology are some accelerated, with complete fermentation taking place in just 30 days.

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    ecologic: Is there an interest, demand, in Romania for your products? What about other countries in Europe?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: In Romania we have already delivered composting plants with an annual capacity of about 100.000 tonnes, and various other projects with a total capacity of about 400.000 tonnes are in different stages of design and implementation. Composting stations with a total capacity of more than 50.000 tonnes per year have been implemented so far in Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria.

    In our country, as expected, the first entities that showed interest and made the step towards automated composting are livestock farmers. The interest among them is very high, but also their expectations for financing from government and/or European funds, dedicated to actions of transition to the circular economic model, development of livestock capacities or dedicated to actions for financial support for waste management. Romania is a leading agricultural producer at European level, with the domestic livestock segment generating about 35 million tons of manure and manure annually from livestock farms. On these grounds, we can say that Romania can soon become the main European producer of organic fertilisers obtained by aerobic fermentation of manure. And this is our chance to preserve the qualities of the soil and not to repeat the mistakes made over time by the large Western European agricultural producers. More than ever, at European and national level, it is necessary to use correctly fertilisers from animal husbandry, in this case after proper maturation, ensuring that nutrients return to the soil in a balanced manner in terms of the C/N ratio, pH, organic matter, humidity and without Salmonella and E-Coli.

    Solid organic fertiliser obtained in Kohshin stations falls under the rules laid down by Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019.

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    In the area of municipalities or private operators in the field of waste treatment and disposal we are not yet present, perhaps due to the perpetuation of outdated solutions in terms of waste fraction management, wet fraction or green mass. Current environmental and biodiversity concerns have generated European initiatives and dedicated funding channels. For example, almost 40 % of the funds that Romania can access through National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) are aimed at developing “green” economic sectors. In this respect, I believe that an efficient Kohshin recycling capacity, fully automated, resulting in a finished fertiliser or compost product (depending on input material) and not semi-finished can not be missing from an integrated regional bio-waste treatment and disposal facility.

    ecologic: Does the current legislation help you in your work?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: The current legislation helps. And if certain aspects are not yet translated from the European level to the national level, I am sure that this will happen at a later stage. The problem arises in the implementing rules of the various legislative instruments governing the recycling of municipal or agricultural bio-waste. One eloquent example is the so-called Compost Law No. 181 of August 2020, at which the technical norms have not yet been developed, which would also have prompted private operators to develop recycling facilities. The management of bio-waste is still inadequate at national level and beyond completing the steps to implement clear rules, I think there is a need for a repositioning of the legislation on collection, recycling and recovery in that area. More specifically, the delays we are currently experiencing in implementing circularity on bio-waste may have already put us at a point where we are in vain trying to comply with European standards, which themselves are constantly changing. We need a short-cut, not to get to the situation of the Dutch agricultural sector, for example, which has great difficulties in reaching the Green Deal targets and which takes into account the closure of 30 % of livestock farms. There should perhaps be more cooperation between the Executive’s structures involved in the implementation of these policies and at the same time more courage in initiating novel legislative packages. A system of transfer of responsibility also in the field of bio-waste may need to be developed, even if this topic does not yet exist at the European level. A system of special facilities for the restoration of agricultural soils where we face desertification may need to be implemented.

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe

    ecologic: Do you think there is a real interest on the part of the authorities in the transition to a circular economy?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: I think the intention exists, but the complexity of the circular economy model discourages the authorities from taking decisive steps. Determined action can be taken, but results come after a long time and after the end of the mandates of the political actors. The circular economy is only a topic for politicised echelons in the administration. There is no belief that we can excel in these approaches and last but not least the specialists in the administration are missing.

    ecologic: What are the main problems you are faced with?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: We are faced with uncertainty in the market and bureaucracy. The implementation of a circular economic model requires major investments in the early stages for any private operator, or the absorption of European funds is vital in the coming period. In Romania there are thousands of mature projects, very elaborate on waiting, which can significantly contribute to the implementation of the circular economy. The long delays in launching funding programmes block the decision-making of companies that have signed up to the implementation of circularity. It is natural for a private operator to be on hold if it is systematically informed that it can receive grants for a development project. Years have elapsed from the launch of the funding intention to the launch of the calls for projects.

    ecologic: What are your concerns about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: By the nature of our work and technology, we offer a consistent option for our partners to reduce the carbon footprint of the facilities they operate. Beyond the fact that Kohshin’s technological lines have been designed and developed for environmental reasons, the equipment operates on platforms or in covered halls, and the biological process maintained prevents methane and CO2 into the atmosphere. Kohshin composting technology is equipped with filtration and washing systems for water vapour emissions with ammonia resulting from the exothermic process. The finished product, organic fertiliser or compost, is a stable and safe product for use in significant soil improvement.

    ecologic: You are a member of the Circular Economy Coalition. How do you appreciate the work of this organisation?

    Cezar Paun, CEO of Kohshin Europe: The Circular Economy Coalition is the ideal platform for business representatives to monitor national legislation in order to adjust the legislative framework and accelerate the transition to the circular economy. The association contributes to international networks and ensures the transfer of best practices for sustainable economic growth. The circle is an increasingly strong voice on the implementation of the circular economy and a simple review of the members of the association justifies us to believe that the transition cannot be achieved without the involvement of the association or without taking into account its initiatives. Government institutions with responsibilities in the field have the appropriate partner in the Circular Economy Coalition both for the shaping of sectoral strategies and for the elaboration of specific regulations.

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    Photo source: Kohshin Europe



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