European Projects


Demonstration project to prove the techno-economic feasibility of using algae to treat saline wastewater from the food industry.

H2020-WATER-2015-two-stage - 689785  

The aim of the project is to implement and demonstrate at large scale the long-term technological and economic feasibility of an innovative, sustainable and efficient solution for the treatment of high salinity wastewater from the F&D industry. Conventional wastewater treatments have proven ineffective for this kind of wastewater, as the bacterial processes typically used for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients are inhibited under high salinity contents. Therefore, generally combinations of biological and physicochemical methods are used which greatly increase the costs of the treatment, making it unaffordable for SMEs, who voluntarily decide not to comply with EU directives and discharge without prior treatment, causing severe damage to the environment. The solution of SALTGAE to this issue consists in the implementation of innovative technologies for each step of the wastewater treatment that will promote energy and resource efficiency, and reduce costs. Amongst these, the use of halotolerant algae/bacteria consortiums in HRAPs for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients stands out for its high added value: not only will it provide an effective and ecological solution for wastewater treatment, but also it will represent an innovative way of producing algal biomass, that will subsequently be valorized into different by-products, reducing the economic and environmental impact of the treatment. Moreover, the project will also address cross-cutting barriers to innovation related to wastewater by developing a platform for the mobilization and networking of stakeholders from all the different sectors related to wastewater, and for the dissemination of results, enabling the development of a common roadmap for the alignment of legislation, regulation and pricing methodologies and promoting financial investment and paradigm shift in perception from ‘wastewater treatment’ to ‘resource valorisation’.


Scale-up of low-carbon footprint material recovery techniques in existing wastewater treatment plants.

H2020 - WATER-2015-two-stage - 690323

SMART-Plant will scale-up in real environment eco-innovative and energy-efficient solutions to renovate existing wastewater treatment plants and close the circular value chain by applying low-carbon techniques to recover materials that are otherwise lost. 7+2 pilot systems will be optimized for > 2 years in real environment in 5 municipal water treatment plants, including also 2 post-processing facilities. The systems will be authomatised with the aim of optimizing wastewater treatment, resource recovery, energy-efficiency and reduction of greenhouse emissions. A comprehensive SMART portfolio comprising biopolymers, cellulose, fertilizers and intermediates will be recovered and processed up to the final commercializable end-products. The integration of resource recovery assets to system wide asset management programs will be evaluated in each site following the resource recovery paradigm for the wastewater treatment plant of the future, enabled through SMART-Plant solutions. The project will prove the feasibility of circular management of urban wastewater and environmental sustainability of the systems, to be demonstrated through Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing approaches to prove the global benefit of the scaled-up water solutions. Dynamic modeling and superstructure framework for decision support will be developed and validated to identify the optimum SMART-Plant system integration options for recovered resources and technologies. Global market deployment will be achieved as right fit solution for water utilities and relevant industrial stakeholders, considering the strategic implications of the resource recovery paradigm in case of both public and private water management. New public-private partnership models will be explored connecting the water sector to the chemical industry and its downstream segments such as the contruction and agricultural sector, thus generating new opportunities for funding, as well as potential public-private competition.


REsources from URbanBIo-waSte.

H2020-CIRC-2016 OneStage - 730349 

RES URBIS aims at making it possible to convert several types of urban bio-waste into valuable bio-based products, in an integrated single biowaste biorefinery and by using one main technology chain. This goal will be pursued through:

- collection and analysis of data on urban bio-waste production and present management systems in four territorial clusters that have been selected in different countries and have different characteristics.

- well-targeted experimental activity to solve a number of open technical issues (both process- and product-related), by using the appropriate combination of innovative and catalogue-proven technologies.

- market analysis within several economic scenarios and business models for full exploitation of bio-based products (including a path forward to fill regulatory gaps).

Urban bio-waste include the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises), excess sludge from urban wastewater treatment, garden and parks waste, selected waste from food-processing (if better recycling options in the food chain are not available), other selected waste streams, i.e. baby nappies. Bio-based products include polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and related PHA-based bioplastics as well as ancillary productions: biosolvents (to be used in PHA extraction) and fibers (to be used for PHA biocomposites). Territorial and economic analyses will be done either considering the ex-novo implementation of the biowastebiorefinery or its integration into existing wastewater treatment or anaerobic digestion plants, with reference to clusters and for different production size. The economic analysis will be based on a portfolio of PHA-based bioplastics, which will be produced at pilot scale and tested for applications:

- Biodegradable commodity film

- Packaging interlayer film

- Speciality durables (such as electronics)

- Premium slow C-release material for ground water remediation


Innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets.

H2020-WASTE-2015-two-stage - 688338 

Innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets. Driven by a “near zero-waste” society requirement, the goal of NoAW project is to generate innovative efficient approaches to convert growing agricultural waste issues into eco-efficient bio-based products opportunities with direct benefits for both environment, economy and EU consumer. To achieve this goal, the NoAW concept relies on developing holistic life cycle thinking able to support environmentally responsible R&D innovations on agro-waste conversion at different TRLs, in the light of regional and seasonal specificities, not forgetting risks emerging from circular management of agro-wastes (e.g. contaminants accumulation). By involving all agriculture chain stakeholders in a territorial perspective, the project will: (1) develop innovative eco-design and hybrid assessment tools of circular agro-waste management strategies and address related gap of knowledge and data via extensive exchange through the Knowledge exchange Stakeholders Platform, (2) develop breakthrough knowledge on agro-waste molecular complexity and heterogeneity in order to upgrade the most widespread mature conversion technology (anaerobic digestion) and to synergistically eco-design robust cascading processes to fully convert agro-waste into a set of high added value bio-energy, bio-fertilizers and biochemical and building blocks, able to substitute a significant range of non-renewable equivalents, with favourable air, water and soil impacts and (3) get insights of the complexity of potentially new, cross-sectors, business clusters in order to fast track NoAW strategies toward the field and develop new business concepts and stakeholders platform for cross-chain valorization of agro-waste on a territorial and seasonal basis.


Innovative eco-technologies for resource recovery from wastewater.

H2020-WATER1b-2015- 689242 

Taking into account the current global water scarcity and the expensive operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment, INCOVER concept has been designed to move wastewater treatment from being primarily a sanitation technology towards a bio-product recovery industry and a recycled water supplier. A wastewater specific Decision Support System methodology will be tailored to the INCOVER technologies and provide data and selection criteria for a holistic wastewater management approach Three added-value plants treating wastewater from three case-studies (municipalities, farms and food and beverage industries) will be implemented, assessed and optimised concurrently. INCOVER plants will be implemented at demonstration scale in order to achieve Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7-8 to ensure straightforward up scaling to 100,000 population equivalents (PE). INCOVER added-value plants will generate benefits from wastewater offering three recovery solutions: 1) Chemical recovery (bio-plastic and organic acids) via algae/bacteria and yeast biotechnology; 2) Near-zero-energy plant providing upgraded bio-methane via pre-treatment and anaerobic codigestion systems; 3) Bio-production and reclaimed water via adsorption, biotechnology based on wetlands systems and hydrothermal carbonisation. To improve added-value production efficiency, INCOVER solutions will include monitoring and control via optical sensing and soft-sensors INCOVER solutions will reduce at least a 50% overall operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment through the use of wastewater as a source for energy demand and added-value production to follow UE circular economy strategy. In addition, strategies to facilitate the market uptake of INCOVER innovations will be carried out in order to close the gap between demonstration and end-users. An estimated turnover of 188 million€ for INCOVER lead-users is expected after the initial exploitation strategy of 5 years implementing 27 INCOVER solutions.


Smart decentralized water management through a dynamic integration of technologies.


The WATINTECH project proposes a combination of concepts of sewer mining with urban run-off treatment in decentralized treatment facilities to enhance the recovery of valuable resources including water, methane (heat, energy) and value-added chemicals, either extracting or producing them from the fluxes inside a sewage pipe. It is also postulated that this combination improves the management of centralized wastewater infrastructures under variable weather events (such as heavy rain episodes combined with long dry periods). The impact of sewer mining and wastewater characteristics on downstream wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) will also be analysed. In an ideal scenario, besides generating the value-added products for local reuse, decentralized treatment will also impact positively on the existing centralized sewage collection and treatment facilities, an aspect rarely taken into account in the design of decentralized infrastructure.


Advanced Filtration TEchnologies for the Recovery and Later conversIon of relevant Fractions from wastEwater.


AFTERLIFE proposes a flexible, cost- and resource-efficient process framed in the zero-waste and circular economy approach for the recovery and valorisation of the relevant fractions from wastewater. The first step of such process is an initial step consisting of a cascade of membrane filtration units for the separation of the totally of solids in wastewater. Then, the concentrates recovered in each unit will be treated to obtain high-pure extracts and metabolites or, alternatively, to be converted into value-added biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Moreover, the outflow of the process is an ultra-pure water stream that can be directly reused.

The outcomes of the project will be focused on:

- Demonstration of an integrated pilot using real wastewater from three water intensive food processing industries (fruit processing, cheese and sweets manufacturing)

- Demonstration of the applicability of the recovered compounds and the value added bioproducts in manufacturing environments

The design and optimisation of the AFTERLIFE process following a holistic approach will contribute to improve performance and reduce the costs associated to wastewater treatment by maximising the value recovery.


Biovalorization of Marine Raw Rest Materials into Polyhydroxyalkanoate-Based Products


Plastics are a major source of environmental pollution, but are also an indispensable part of our contemporary society. Bioplastics not only offer a solution to this impasse, but it simultaneously offers an opportunity to extend the value chain of the Norwegian fishing and aquaculture industry. In this project, unutilized rest raw materials from Norway’s fishing industry (estimated at over 600,000 tons per annum) will be used as a feedstock to produce bacterial polymers, called polyhydroxyalkanoates. These polymers can be used in bioplastic production, but can also serve as a source of valuable monomers. Both of these bioproducts (i.e. polymers and monomers) are associated with high future growth projections and the potential to strongly contribute to Norway’s bioeconomy. The global bioplastics and biopolymer market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17,5 % or more between 2016-2020, with an expected increase to USD 20 billion by 2019, and USD 324 billion by 2030. An ongoing pre-project has yielded promising results, but to evaluate the commercial potential of this idea, optimization funding is required. In this project, several fermentation strategies will be employed to convert various different types of marine raw rest materials into biopolymers, which will then be assessed for use as environmentally-friendly bioplastics and/or as a source for high-value monomers. In order to achieve this, a strong multinational and multidisciplinary team of industrial microbiologists, polymer and organic chemists, environmental scientists, as well as business developers and industrial advisors has been assembled. The project is expected to be completed within three years. At the end of this project we will have the results and partners needed for market verification (FORNY2020) and the establishment of a new production company. This project offers a clear contribution to Norway’s bioeconomy within the paradigm of sustainable and environmentally responsible development.


EUROPHA FP7 - SME - 2013 - 604770

EuroPHA project is proposed by four national SME Associations: FECOAM (Agro-food SME association, Spain); SPIF (Swedish Plastics Industry Association, Sweden); PLASTIPOLIS (Competitive Cluster for Plastics Engineering, France); and BPF (British Plastics Federation, UK). We share a common value chain that connects food processing SMEs that use plastic packaging, with SME plastic industries that produce them.

EuroPHA project has been designed to overcome the technical obstacles to turn the linear production chain into a cycle. And their objectives are:

1. Reduction of PHA production costs: using low value feedstock as starting material and mixed microbial cultures for a three-phase biological synthesis of PHA:

  • Anaerobic acidogenesis
  • Mixed microbial culture selection
  • PHA accumulation in batch mode

2. Design of an environmentally friendly & cost effective extraction step.

3. Novel formulations of PHA (foam and monolayer film) for food packaging

By achieved the targeted objectives EuroPHA project will develop a final bioplastic material (compounded PHA) that can be industrially processed into novel food packaging products without any modification of current equipment. EuroPHA project products will be >95% bio-based and 100% compostable by EU standards, so consumers will be able to dispose them together with food residues without needing separation. EuroPHA project food bioplastics will be composted and used in agriculture as soil amend for the production of agro-food raw materials for food and drink SMEs. EuroPHA project materials will be bio-based, so they will save CO2 in comparison to petrochemical plastics. EuroPHA project will turn agro-food waste into renewable packaging materials by biotechnological processes, so it will promote sustainable growth and contribute to the European Commission goal of a Bioeconomy.



Within the EcoBioCAP project a next generation packaging will be developed using advanced composite structures based on constituents derived from the food industry by-products only and by applying innovative processing strategies to enable customisation of the packaging properties to fit the functional, cost safety and environmental impact requirements of the targeted fresh perishable food.

The overall objective of EcoBioCAP is to provide the EU food industry with customizable, ecoefficient, biodegradable packaging solutions with direct benefits both for environment and EU consumers in terms of food quality and safety. 

This next-generation packaging will be developed using advanced composite structures based on constituents (biopolyesters, fibres, proteins, polyphenolic compounds, bioadhesives and high performance bio-additives) derived from food (oil, dairy, cereal and beer) industry by-products only and by applying innovative processing strategies to enable customisation of the packaging’s properties to fit the functional, cost, safety and environmental impact requirements of the targeted fresh perishable foods (fruit and vegetable, cheese and ready to eat meal). Demonstration activities with SMEs and industrial partners will enable the EcoBioCAP technology to be optimised in terms stability, safety, environmental impact and cost-effectiveness before full exploitation. The development of a decision support system for use by the whole packaging chain will make the EcoBioCAP technology is accessible to all stakeholders. Extensive outreach activities will not only disseminate the project results to the scientific community but also ensure that consumers and end-users are informed of the usage conditions and benefits of such bio-degradable packaging and how it should be disposed of.



Phaseplit proposes a novel two-phase acid/gas anaerobic reactor for industrial wastewater treatment of food & drink small and medium enterprise (SME) industries. More than 99% of European Food & Drink companies are SMEs. Industrial food production generates a lot of polluting wastewater, while the Urban Waste Water Directive has set strict regulations to the quality of waste water discharged from these industries to the environment. But treating wastewater is expensive. The smaller the company is, the more expensive it is to treat 1m3 of wastewater. Anaerobic treatment is an eco-efficient solution: biogas can be transformed at the Food & Drink industries in electricity and heat. Current anaerobic reactors available in the market are good but they are extremely expensive for SMEs. Phaseplit is an SME-size anaerobic wastewater reactor achieving a reduction of capital investment costs by 50% and operational costs by 30% to generate enough renewable energy from biogas to cover the reactor’s consumption and generate a surplus for the SME. Phaseplit will separate the anaerobic treatment in two-phases: acidogenic and methanogenic. Phaseplit is expected to reduce organic pollution in fresh waters and contribute to the European objective of 20% of renewable energy by the year 2020.



Artica4nr proposes a multivariable advanced control solution for sustainable operation of nutrient removal urban WWTPs. The ARTIC4nr project aims to accelerate and stimulate the market deployment of the art-ICA automatic controllers. The art-ICA controllers have been operating in the Galindo (Bilbao) and Mekolalde (Bergara) WWTPs in Spain for several years, demonstrating their outstanding capacity for improving the quality of treated water and reducing energy consumption. The challenge in the coming years will be to grow the product's sales exponentially. To do this, the project's planned exploitation and commercial dissemination activities (organizing workshops in Spain, attending international trade fairs, publishing in specialist journals, etc.) will be complemented by the installation of art-ICA in at least four new WWTPs, two in Spain and two in Portugal.



Apart from the application of mixed enriched cultures another alternative to reduce the cost of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) production is to investigate the efficiency of pure culture to simultaneously produce PHAs and other high value-added products such as rhamnolipids (RLs). The aim of the certain project is to examine the ability of non-pathogenic bacteria that belong to Pseudomonas and Burkholderia genus to produce (scl- and/or mcl-) PHAs and RLs at the same time. Factors that affect both biosynthetic pathways will be studied and the appropriate cultivation strategy will be selected using renewable substrates such as wastes generated from oil-processing plants and industries. PHAs and RLs yield, composition, distribution and physicochemical properties will be determined in order to link bioprocess optimization with the optimization of PHAs and RLs physicochemical properties and to evaluate the effect of environmental and culture conditions on them.