• Last week, a new call for Startup Europe Awards was launched in the seminar Synergies towards a Technology Transfer by LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 held in the Transfiere forum on the 17th of February in 2023.

•One of the challenges of this edition of Startup Europe Awards centers around Sustainable technology for the valorisation of sludge from Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs).

Last week, several challenges were launched for a new edition of LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 – Startup Europe Awards during Transfiere, the largest European forum for science, technology and innovation, held at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga (FYCMA). One of those was the Sustainable technology challenge for the valorisation of sludge from Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs).

Waste Water Treatment Plants, or WWTPs, are used to remove waste, floating grease and oil, sand and all coarse elements that may be contained in the water; to remove settleable materials, both organic and inorganic; and to remove biodegradable organic matter dissolved in water. Because of various stages of wastewater treatment, sludge can be found in WWTPs receiving urban wastewater, in septic tanks and in other wastewater treatment plants treating water of similar composition (mainly from the agri-food industry).

With this challenge of the LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 Startup Europe Awards, we are looking for a project or initiative that provides a sustainable technological solution for the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge and its subsequent valorisation. As a first criterion to be followed, it must be a sustainable technology, as the system currently lacks technological solutions that can be classified as such. In addition, the increase in sludge production from WWTPs is due to population growth, the growth of urbanised areas and industrial activity, constituting an environmental and economic challenge. Therefore, as a second criterion, it must be a technology capable of transforming the limited use of sludge (typically agricultural applications as fertiliser) into ways of generating value and profitability (e.g. co-production of biofuel).

The call for these challenges was launched in the seminar LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0 – Synergies towards a Technology Transfer on the 17th of February, within the Transfiere Forum. 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 of this edition of Startup Europe Awards will be held in September within the framework of Greencities and S-Moving in FYCMA, and the challenges posed are committed to innovative entrepreneurship in the field of circular economy, energy efficiency and the fight against climate change. The Finnova Foundation is looking for those startups that are providing innovative solutions to the challenges of the ecological transition.

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.