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URBASER’s participation as coordinator of this European project is in line with the company’s commitment to the quest for solutions that promote the circular economy and contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.

Urbaser, a global environmental management company, and Socamex, a company belonging to Urbaser, will lead the CIRCULAR BIOCARBON project and build the first biorefinery for municipal solid waste and sewage sludge in Europe.

The European Commission has given the green light to the funding of the European R&D&i project entitled “Turning carbon of complex organic urban waste streams into value-added products” (CIRCULAR BIOCARBON). The project consortium is made up of 11 partners from 5 European countries, including Spain, Italy, Denmark, France and Germany, and the initiative represents a milestone for the whole of Europe due to its capacity for replication. 

“This is a circular economy project in which the first biorefinery for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) will be built and operated on an industrial scale. The goal is to recover the organic fraction of MSW and WWTP sludge in the form of products of high added value,” says Eduardo Fernández, R&D&i Director at Urbaser.

Construction work on the biorefinery will begin next year at Urbaser’s “Alfonso Maíllo” R&D&i Centre and at the Zaragoza Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Complex (CTRUZ), thanks to the collaboration of Zaragoza City Council. The project will have a duration of five years and an overall budget of €23 million, €15 million of which will be funded by the European Commission in the form of a subsidy.

A step in the direction of the sustainable bio-economy

The main objective of the CIRCULAR BIOCARBON project is to open up new business and entrepreneurial frameworks in Zaragoza, based on an innovative circular vision of waste and WWTP sludge treatment. The aim is to take a further step towards achieving a sustainable bio-economy and to optimise the management of both the organic fraction of MSW and sewage sludge, whilst availing of all the carbon generated in a population centre.

Products that could potentially be obtained from the treatment of these wastes are: higher quality fertilisers, valuable products based on biogas carbon, bioplastics, intermediate products to add value to fertilisers, diamond-like carbon coatings, graphene, and a variety of other intermediate products such as proteins, struvite, ammonium salts and algal bio-stimulants.

URBASER’s participation in this European project is in line with the company’s commitment to the quest for solutions that promote the circular economy and contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12), which seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.