Press Release December 2021
The VALUEWASTE pilot plant, located in the waste management facilities of FERROVIAL, in Cañada Hermosa (Murcia, Spain), was officially launched last November 17th with local policy authorities. Its goal: valorise urban biowaste into new added value ingredients.
The plant began operations and trials back in November 2020. Currently, it works as follows:
First, organic waste from the brown containers implanted by FERROVIAL in the neighbourhood of La Flota (Murcia, Spain) arrives at the VALUEWASTE pilot plant. There starts the mechanical pre-treatment: first, the organic wastes move through different mechanisms that separate any remaining plastic or metal from the organic wastes.
Then, in a second step, the organic matter moves to a digestor (a closed and impermeable cylindrical container) installed by INDEREN, and mixed with water. The mixture is here digested thanks to the anaerobic fermentation of microorganisms, obtaining: (1) biogas, with a high content of methane; (2) and a humid digestate. The humid digestate undergoes a further dehydration treatment by technologies designed by EKOBALANS, producing two fractions: a solid and liquid one.
In this point, the 3 valorisation lines of the VALUEWASTE project start:
- Valorisation of biowaste into food and feed ingredients through methanotrophic bacteria that feed on the obtained biogas. Currently, biogas produced in the VALUEWASTE plant is used to produce heat for the plant operations. The line of work itself is developed in Kalundborg (Denmark), where the company UNIBIO is producing new protein ingredients with great potential – as demonstrated in safety and application trials carried out by GAIKER.
- Valorisation of biowaste into food and feed ingredients through insects that feed on the solid digestate. Once treated, the solid digestate is taken to a pilot black soldier fly rearing unit designed and installed by ENTOMO AGROINDUSTRIAL, which produces dried larvae. Later, these are transformed into flour with a high protein content.
- Valorisation of biowaste into biofertilizers through the treatment of the liquid digestate. The treatment of the liquid fraction of the digestate involves technologies developed and installed by NURESYS and EKOBALANS. From this treatment the pilot plant obtains struvite and ammonium sulphate, an organic-mineral fertiliser.
All in all, the VALUEWASTE project is an EU initiative that delivers a sustainable and integrated system of technologies for the transformation of the organic fraction of the biowaste produced in cities across Europe; into high-value ingredients demanded by the population. It fosters the adoption of circular practices, contributing to EU food and feed production self-sufficiency while reducing biowaste generation – arising about 118 and 138 million tons annually in the EU.
The VALUEWASTE project is coordinated by the Technological Centre CETENMA and counts with 17 expert partners from 6 EU countries, including the two Municipality bodies of KALUNDBORG(Denmark) and MURCIA(Spain). In the coming months, the work in the pilot plant will continue supported by further safety trials by the partners CARINSA and GAIKER; policy and regulation work thanks to EUBIA and UNE; active dissemination of results with INNOVARUM; and the development of business models and potential exploitation strategies with SAVONIA UNIVERSITY, ITTAINOVA and FOOD BIO-CLUSTER DENMARK.