The main objective of the WASTE2BIO project, “Valorization of urban WASTEs TO new generation of BIOethanol” (2017-2020), was to validate and demonstrate a global process for the organic MSW, through the recovery thereof in bioethanol and biogas in order to enhance the valorization of residues, reducing energy costs and impacts from waste management.

The organic matter contained in the MSW was treated to produce organic fiber rich in cellulose and hemicellulose, which was subsequently converted into bioethanol using an innovative technology developed by IMECAL-PERSEO, in collaboration with CIEMAT, to produce second-generation biofuels from MSW using enzymatic hydrolysis treatment and fermentation. After bioethanol production, a significant amount of organic material still remains in the feedstock that can be transformed into biogas by anaerobic digestion without any other co-substrates or they can be co-digested with other feedstock types.

For this purpose, during the project the different treatment process involved were optimized step-by-step in order to optimize each one to be integrated in an overall process. The efficacy of such technologies was demonstrated and verified in the semi-industrial demonstration plant of PERSEO, in order to verify the project and to set-up the design parameters for scale-up purposes.

The project proposed three working lines in order to achieve the project objective. (1) Improvement in the different process involved in the valorization of the organic fraction of MSW: Pretreatment step in order to obtain the most suitable organic fraction free of inert materials, the bioethanol production from the carbohydrates contained in the MSW involving the hydrolysis and simultaneous fermentation and saccharification steps, the anaerobic digestion of the residue obtained from the fermentation process, fertilizers production and raw material characterization. (2) Process validation and demonstration at semi-industrial scale, including the process integration, techno-economic assessment and energy and sustainability analysis (3) Integration the project results in the new MSW treatment model defining the exploitation strategy and business models.

Innovation Potential of the project is the application of the anaerobic digestion technology (of the residues obtained in the fermentation of the organic fraction of MSW to bioethanol production) for the biogas production. It is a new substrate that never was tested before. Thus, the results of the project will valorize the value chain management of urban waste by obtaining two energy recoverable products and an organic fertilizer, improving the energy balance integration of all the process as a whole.

Regarding the impact of the project, WASTE2BIO project will contribute to strengthen the competitiveness and growth of European Biofuels Industry by validating a technological innovation that meets the needs of the world market in terms of quality of the fuel, energy and cost efficiency. The project technology aimed to develop and demonstrate a sustainable alternative to the current technologies of Municipal Waste Treatment (MWT) available in the market. A new technology based in a biotechnological process, with good conversion of bioethanol and biogas and better economical results than actual waste treatment technologies.

Coordinated by: IMECAL S.A.
Total budget: 1 752 707 €
Grant: 715 980 €


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