AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, will host the seventh edition of its International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites on 4 and 5 March 2020 in Valencia.
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Start-up of a microalgae-based treatment system within the biorefinery concept: from wastewater to bioproducts
Within the European project INCOVER, an experimental plant uses low-energy photobioreactors to cultivate micro-algae and transform wastewater into bioproducts.
This article describes this new experimental plant and the start-up stage, starting from the new design of three semi-closed horizontal photobioreactors with low energy requirements, for microalgae cultivation (30 m3 total), using agricultural runoff and urban wastewater as feedstock.
The inflow nutrients concentration is adjusted to select cyanobacteria, microalgae able to accumulate polyhydroxybutyrates, which can be used for bioplastics production. Part of the harvested biomass is used as substrate for anaerobic co-digestion (AcoD) with secondary sludge to obtain biogas. This biogas is then cleaned in an absorption column to reach methane concentration up to 99%. The digestate from the AcoD is further processed in sludge wetlands for stabilization and biofertilizer production.
On the other hand, treated water undergoes ultrafiltration and disinfection through a solar-driven process, then it is pumped through absorption materials to recover nutrients, and eventually applied in an agricultural field to grow energy crops by means of a smart irrigation system. This plant presents a sustainable approach for wastewater management, which can be seen as a resource recovery process, more than a waste treatment.
'The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability' is the third EEA report on the circular economy. It aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. It shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain.
The increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.
Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams.
Implementing the circular and bio-economy in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures.
The emerging bioeconomy is moving from a research niche to market norm and Europe needs to maintain its current global leadership. The update of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy is a major European Commission wide policy initiative which will be presented and discussed during the Bioeconomy Conference on October 22, in Brussels.
The European Bioeconomy Congress Lodz 2018 will be held on September 24th, 2018, in Lodz, Poland to support the development of a bioeconomy in the Central and Eastern European Bioregions.
Kalundborg Symbiosis is a partnership between nine public and private companies in Kalundborg, Denmark.
CIRC-PACK project aims at more sustainable, efficient, competitive, integrated and interconnected plastic packaging value chain with less fossil fuel dependence.
Laura Cutaia, researcher at ENEA is an Environmental Engineer (1996) with a PhD in raw materials engineering (2002). Her main research topics are:
- Industrial ecology and Symbiosis,
- Technology for raw and secondary materials treatment,
- Resources management,
- Life Cycle Assessment,
- Environmental Certification,
- End of life management.
Laura Cutaia is the Responsible of Laboratory for Valorization of Resources at ENEA , where she is working on circular economy and resource efficiency, industrial ecology and symbiosis, LCA, environmental certification schemes, REACH regulation and sustainable industrial areas (more information).
Laura Cutaia is also the President of SUN - Symbiosis Users Network (Italian network for industrial symbiosis) and the President of UNI CT 057 on Circular Economy that is working with ISO TC 323 on circular economy. UNI is the Italian competent body for standardization.
As an adviser for environmental and climate policy, Leon de Graaf particularly follows policies related to the circular economy, trade and climate, low-emission mobility, implementation of the Paris climate agreement (COP21) and the European emission trading system (EU ETS). He is also deputy manager of BusinessEurope's corporate Advisory and Support Group (ASGroup). Prior to joining BusinessEurope, Leon worked at the research consultancy Ecorys, focusing on renewable energy and international development issues, at DG COMP on energy and environmental subsidies in Europe, and at the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) on indirect ETS costs for energy-intensive industries. Leon has a MSc in environmental economics and climate change from the London School of Economics, and a BSc in business economics from the University of Groningen.
New, innovative bioenergy products from paper and pulp mills’ sidestreams utilizing novel biogas technology
EcoEnergySF Oy has a biogas plant in the area of Metsä Fibre Bioproduct Mill in Äänekoski, Finland. The biogas plant processes the wastewater slurries of the BioproductMill, and turn those into biogas for transportation, carbon dioxide for pulping process as well as fertilizers and solid biofuel for boiler plants.
Circular Glasgow, hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, will connect with companies across the city helping them to open up new revenue streams, increase competitive advantage and realise financial savings using a range of practical tools.