In Europe, about 240 million tonnes of 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Production of bioethanol from the organic fraction of MSW provides a more environmentally friendly method of dealing with MSW than current industrially used disposal methods. Energy recovered from the organic waste found in the MSW is transformed into bioethanol and bioenergy, this is a huge breakthrough in the treatment and disposal of MSW and the creation of a renewable energy production system.
The organic matter contained in the MSW will be treated, using an innovative technology, developed by IMECAL and CIEMAT, which is used to produce organic fibers rich in cellulose and hemicellulose which will then be converted into bioethanol. This will produce second-generation biofuels using enzymatic hydrolysis treatment and fermentation. After this stage of production there is still a large amount of organic material still in the feedstock. This can be transformed into biogas, using anaerobic digestion, which can then be used as a fuel for production of electricity and heat. Thus, the project will valorize urban waste by obtaining two energy recoverable products and an organic fertilizer, improving the energy balance integration of the whole process.