From Waste to Bioproducts Through Biorefinery

URBIOFIN project aims to demonstrate the techno-economic and environmental viability of an integrated biorefinery for the transformation of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) into new marketable bioproducts, chemical building blocks, biopolymers and additives.

The project is coming close to its final course of implementation, following a five-year journey. The results are already leading to the achievement of the objectives. Laboratory scale tests, as well as several pilot and demo scale trials, have been performed.

From organic waste, to biofuels, bioplastics and biofertilisers
URBIOFIN will demonstrate innovative processes in bioethanol production from the OFMSW and its use as a chemical building block. The bioethanol produced from the OFMSW will be employed as a feedstock for the production of “second generation” bioethylene for gas ripening application. Furthermore, the project will demonstrate innovative processes in Volatile Fatty Acids production from anaerobic digestion of OFMSW and its elongation into Medium Chain Fatty Acids to produce short-chain and medium-chain PHA biopolymers. Regarding the biogas upgrading by microalgae photobioreactor for the production of pure biomethane, the upgraded biomethane will be further treated. The aim is to remove volatile methyl siloxanes.

The project will also demonstrate innovative processes in the production of bio-fertilizers from microalgae and OFMSW. Microalgae grown on OFMSW-based digestate will showcase the potential to produce an aminoacid-rich intermediate product. The validation trials of the preliminary produced materials are in progress. Meanwhile, in the following months, the intermediate materials produced in the pilot plants will be used to formulate and produce different bio-based products. Their potential will be validated for the selected end-user purposes complying with EU legislation.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 3/2021, Page 40, Source: URBIOFIN)