Valorization of urban WASTEs to new generation of BIOethanol

In Europe, about 240 million tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is produced every year which creates a major environmental issue because of its inefficient disposal and treatment-  25% of MSW ends up in landfill and the remaining 75% is usually treated by composting, anaerobic digestion or combustion processes-.

The principal idea of WASTE2BIO is to develop a more sustainable and efficient alternative to the current methods by producing bioethanol from biodegradable materials present in the MSW and to process the residual feedstock into biogas using anaerobic digestion.

The economic and environmental benefits of bioethanol and biogas are multiple as they are clean, renewable and efficient biofuels. Bioethanol is principally used as a petrol substitute and it can even be blended and used in current transport vehicles without the need for any engine modification. Biogas is a renewable fuel which can be used for production of electricity and heat.

The innovative Waste2Bio will strengthen the competitiveness and growth of the European Biofuels Industry by validating this technological innovation that meets the needs of the world market in terms of quality of the fuel, energy and cost efficiency.

What are the objectives of the project?

The WASTE2BIO project aims to validate and demonstrate a global process for treatment of organic Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), through the recovery of bioethanol and biogas thus enhancing the valorization of residues, reducing energy costs and impacts from waste management. To achieve the project goal, the following objectives have been defined:

1) Improvement and implementation of a more efficient pre-treatment for the organic fraction of MSW

Pre-treatment of the organic fractions contained in MSW is essential to achieve the desired conversion process of biomass to biofuel. Pretreating the MSW in order to increase the organic fraction accessibility is crucial for the bioethanol and biogas biotechnological conversion.

2) Bioethanol and biogas from MSW: process optimisation, demonstration and validation

The project aims to define the best configuration to achieve a high yield of bioethanol and biogas, this will be demonstrated in IMECAL’s plant, and will include all the required modifications of the current facilities with the aim of validating the technology.

3) Demonstration of the benefits of PERSEO Bioethanol process for the production of bioethanol and biogas for bioenergy purposes

This objective necessitates undertaking of an integrated assessment and evaluation of the sustainability aspects associated with the innovative technologies and improvements for biofuel production from waste developed within WASTE2BIO project. Methodologies such as LCA, TEA, LCC and socio-economic and sustainability analysis will be used.

4) Identification of market opportunities and creation of business models

An overall aim of the project is to demonstrate the potential feasibility of the project in real-life environments, defining the socio-economic impact through a return-on-investment study and the assessment of potential creation of jobs and new enterprises. A business model will focus on technology development priorities in the near, mid, and long term by analyzing the potential cost, commercialization time, and market demands for project results.

5) Dissemination and exploitation the results obtained in the Waste2Bio project

Communication, dissemination, training and information routes will be established during the WASTE2BIO project both at internal and external level (consortium) to help maximize the project’s impact. Strategic communication will be carried out in order to engage a range of stakeholders, promote the accomplishments of the project, increase consumer acceptance, and accelerate the expansion of biofuel production and use.

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