European project to replace urban landfills

We are working on the design of a biodigester for the recovery of the organic fraction of urban waste to obtain biomethane, fertiliser and protein, preventing it from ending up in landfills or being incinerated.

  • The Inderen and Genia Global Energy engineering firms are designing and building a new compact digester model to produce biogas and proteins from organic waste.
  • The aim of the VALUEWASTE project is to recover urban waste and avoid its storage in landfills.
  • The project proposes an integrated system for the recovery of urban biological waste in key strategic products for the EU.

One of the most ambitious challenges of the European project to eliminate organic waste in landfills is to create a biodigester that does not require mechanical mixing. The design and construction of the prototype for this biodigester is in the hands of the Valencian engineering companies Genia Global Energy and Inderen.

Once the effectiveness of the model has been verified, which uses pumps and diffusers instead of mechanical agitation to facilitate the fermentation of the waste, it will be implemented at an industrial level in the project’s two pilot cities, Murcia (Spain) and Kalundborg (Denmark).

The VALUEWASTE project attempts to solve the problem of organic waste in cities to prevent it from ending up in landfills or being incinerated before making the most of its value. This project starts from the separation and collection of organic waste to its treatment by anaerobic biodigestion (fermentation of organic waste by bacteria in the absence of oxygen) to convert waste into valuable products such as methane gas (injectable into the natural gas network), organic compost, fertiliser and the project’s great challenge: useful proteins for the manufacture of feed and even for human consumption

Project information:

Fourteen companies, organisations and administrations from 7 European countries are cooperating in the project, which began in 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in 2022. Its importance lies in the fact that it acts throughout the waste recovery chain, from its separation and collection, to its treatment, recovery and reuse. The project has a budget of € 10.8 million, 80% of which is financed by the EU.

The implementation of this system in European municipalities will avoid the accumulation of organic waste in landfills (and, therefore, its greenhouse gas emissions and the danger of leaks in aquifers) and will contribute to European self-sufficiency in strategic resources, such as natural gas, nitrogen and phosphorus-rich natural fertilisers, and proteins, a resource of which the EU imports 77% and of which up to 60 tonnes will be produced per year. The implementation of this organic waste management system will represent an important step in the circular economy, since valuable resources are obtained from waste that, once again, are useful for agriculture, livestock and industry.

Despite the delay in the implementation of these technologies in Spain, where there are barely 300 installations as compared to more than 1600 in countries comparable in their potential such as Italy, both Inderen and Genia Global Energy have extensive international experience both in the design and installation of biogas plants and have previously collaborated in research projects on this technology’s possibilities such as EASYCOMPOST and LIFE ANADRY.

Delivery of the digester and digestate tanks by Inderen