• During the Transfiere forum, which took place from 15-17 February, Finnova launched a new edition of the Startup Europe Awards in the seminar Synergies towards Technology Transfer
  • This call is made up of two challenges: “Improvement of biogas generation in Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) and their energy improvement” and “Sustainable technology for the valorisation of sludge from Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP)”

Transfiere, the largest European forum for science, technology and innovation, held at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga (FYCMA) from 15 to 17 February, was the setting for the launch of several challenges that make up the new edition of the LIFE ECODIGESTION 2. 0 Startup Europe Awards: “Improve biogas generation in Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) and energy improvement in WWTPs” and “Sustainable technology for the valorisation of sludge from Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP)“.

Waste Water Treatment Plants, or WWTPs, are used to remove waste, floating fats, oils and grease, sand and other elements that may be present in the water, as well as settleable materials, both organic and inorganic, and biodegradable organic matter dissolved in the water. In recent years, WWTPs in Europe have achieved significant energy savings, but it is still a costly and intensive process, which involves a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The development of WWTPs in Spain is characterised by uneven regional policies.

Therefore, the aim of this first challenge is to achieve a first level technology applied to wastewater treatment, which allows energy cost savings, and to seek companies and entrepreneurs that promote the generation of biogas, improve the efficiency of its production or its subsequent use in services such as public vehicle fleets with the objectives of circular economy and sustainable mobility as the main priority.

While the second challenge seeks a project or initiative that provides a sustainable technological solution for the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge and its subsequent valorisation. Two criteria that will be prioritised is that it must be a sustainable technology capable of transforming the limited use of sludge (typically agricultural applications such as fertilisers) into ways of generating value and profitability (e.g. co-production of biofuel).

The call for these challenges was launched at the LIFE EDODIGESTION 2.0 – Synergies towards Technology Transfer seminar on 17 February at Transfiere. These awards are an open innovation tool to identify disruptive startups that promote public-private collaboration and raise awareness of the importance of self-entrepreneurship as a driver of employment.

The final will be held on Wednesday, 20 and Thursday, 21 September in the framework of Greencities and S-Moving at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga (FYCMA). The challenges posed are committed to innovative entrepreneurship in the field of circular economy, energy efficiency and the fight against climate change. In short, stratups that provide innovative solutions to the challenges of the ecological transition. It is also worth mentioning that the innovative startups that present themselves will be able to promote European demonstration projects in programmes such as LIFE and Horizon Europe with grants of between 500,000 and 15 million euros.

Register here to participate and know more about the challenges.

About Startup Europe Awards

The Startup Europe Awards (SEUA) is an initiative driven by the European Commission, implemented by the Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe. It is an open innovation tool that allows companies to identify talented startups capable of solving today’s challenges in multiple areas. Its mission is to help Startups and Scaleups become more efficient, smarter and more successful. These awards are a useful tool to promote knowledge sharing, add value to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help startups to grow and position themselves in the market.


It is a demonstration pilot project, funded by the LIFE programme and with a budget of more than 970,000 euros, which generates biogas in water treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming wastewater treatment plant sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative led by Global Omnium, (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool on the market by achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas through optimal waste exploitation. Thanks to this technology, it favours the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the exploitation of sewage sludge generated in wastewater treatment processes, thus achieving a positive impact on the environment. This programme is easily scalable with other funds such as ERDF, NextGenerationEU or Repower EU.

About Finnova Foundation

Finnova is the Spanish-Belgian non-profit foundation based in Brussels and Spain, working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the EU. Finnova’s experience in leading communication and dissemination activities of European projects is combined with a solid proven track record in business creation and entrepreneurial support programmes, such as accelerators, incubators and events, as well as its commitment to training and employability of young people.