Turning Urban Waste into Scalable Graphene

€23 million European project will design a biorefinery to turn organic fraction of municipal solid waste and sewage sludge into value-added products.

Graphenea will be taking part in a flagship project called CIRCULAR BIOCARBON, which was kicked off this week and has been awarded over €23 Million, to develop a first-of-its-kind flagship biorefinery designed to turn the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) and sewage sludge (SS) into added-value products, from mechanical moving parts to night-vision cameras and devices for 5G telecommunications.

The project involves 11 partners from five European countries (including Spain, Italy, Denmark, France, and Germany) and is a milestone for the whole of Europe due to its implementation scale (industrial level) as well as to its replicability potential.

The biorefinery is a unique and integrated model with the process lines for the OFSMW and SS to be implemented in two locations, namely Zaragoza (Spain) and Sesto San Giovanni (Italy).

Construction of the site in Spain will start in 2022 in the facilities of “Alfonso Maíllo” R&D+i center, and in the Center for Urban Waste Treatment of Zaragoza (CTRUZ), owned by the Municipality of Zaragoza and located in the Technological Park for Recycling (PTR). At the end of the project, a commercial-scale biorefinery will be in a full operation designed to treat all the biowaste produced by a medium-sized city.

“CIRCULAR BIOCARBON is a circular economy project, where the first biorefinery for the joint treatment of urban solid waste and sewage sludge at an industrial level will be built and exploited. This aims at valorizing the organic fraction of urban solid waste and sewage sludge coming from wastewater treatment plants into value-added products,” explains Eduardo Fernández, I+D+i Director at Urbaser.

“Turning urban waste into graphene provides a double advantage: reducing the environmental impact of the waste, and producing graphene in a scalable and economic manner”, says Amaia Zurutuza of Graphenea. “We will work with partners to develop this technology and implement it at an industrial scale in the new biorefineries”.

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