Hydro Ben: recovering oils and fats from wastewater in catering establishments

Type of organisation or company
Brescia (Brescia), Lombardy
Language for original content
Key Area
Project elaborated in partnership
supply chains; production areas
Submitted by
ICESP (Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform)
Start/End date

The Hydro Ben project focuses on resource recovery for reuse in other industrial activities.

It consists of recovering fatty substances from wastewater in professional catering facilities, by means of a special device which is placed under the sink. The caterer sets aside the recovered resource, identified as CER code 190809 (mixture of oils and fats produced by oil/water separation, containing only edible oils and fats). This substance is recognised as having excellent energy potential. The consortium, through Procedure UNI/TS 11852:2022, collects the resource.

In Brescia, annual recovery is estimated at around 1000 tons per year. Once treated, the material will be used with industrial symbiosis at the water treatment plant in the anaerobic sludge oxidation phase to produce biogas, sustainably generated and suitable for energy cogeneration. With hydrolyzers, green hydrogen can be generated 24 hours a day. Technical and scientific tests on generating biopolymers will be carried out at a biorefinery in Lombardy.

This is part of ENEA's circular economy CREIAMO project. The research on the hydraulic verification of the device and the separation capacity of the oily substance, a typical pollutant in wastewater, was conducted with the Brescia University of Engineering, Environmental Health Group. The cost/benefit ratio was calculated using LCA.

Identified challenge (s)
Main results
  • Creation of energy communities from renewable sources, with sustainable energy self-production (Law n9/2018 - GSE) and for mobility.
  • Reduced waste production.
  • Improved environmental and safety standards in the workplace, for the entire food service supply chain.
  • Environmental management system for wastewater from catering facilities.
  • Localised recovery of pollutants from wastewater, with a positive impact on sewer and water treatment plant maintenance.
  • Improvement in the quality of waterways and groundwater.
  • Significant reduction in climate-altering emissions.
  • Territorial energy efficiency.
  • Industrial and territorial symbiosis.
  • Professional training in environmental education for the young generation, specifically for hotel schools in Italy.