Future organic waste applications: Biometa Congress

The head offices of the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) hosted the Biometa Congress on May 11 and 12 of this year. The congress is a leading worldwide event that focuses on municipal waste treatment strategies that enable biogas to be used as a source of energy and for other purposes. This year’s congress featured the participation of metropolitan and municipal technical experts, private industry and the academic community. The papers presented focused on the future alternative uses of organic waste, ranging from the manufacture of medical prostheses to fuel for cars.

All municipal organic waste treatment facilities currently either generate electricity from biomethanisation processes (producing biogas) or produce compost through digestion in piles or closed tunnels. Current legislation, which has modified feed in tariffs for energy from waste and fuel taxes, has complicated the economic situation in the sector. For this reason the AMB is seeking innovative lines of research to achieve products with added value, such as biochemical and bioplastic products.amb1

These materials, manufactured using organic matter, have numerous environmental benefits. The manufacture of such products does not depend on oil. The process produces lower CO2 emissions. Some of the products are biodegradable, with a decomposition time of between 3 and 5 years (compared to over 100 for conventional plastics). Once obtained, bioplastics have a great variety of uses: from eco-friendly plastic bags (which reduces the manufacture and consumption of non-environmentally friendly plastic bags) to medical prostheses (at a much lower cost than conventional prostheses).