• Waste, an opportunity to create biogas

• On 22 March, World Water Day, we look at how waste can be transformed into a vital source of clean energy.

In a world where sustainability and the circular economy are becoming imperative, innovative solutions that transform waste into valuable resources are gaining a leading role. One such pioneering project is LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0, funded by the European LIFE programme, which promises to revolutionise the way we treat wastewater and manage biogas.

In the era of the linear economy, waste was seen as a problem, but in the circular economy it is seen as an untapped opportunity. This is precisely the focus of LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0: turning waste into clean energy and valuable resources. The project addresses two key aspects: wastewater treatment and the management of the biogas resulting from the anaerobic digestion process.

Wastewater treatment is a crucial challenge to preserve water quality and protect the environment. Traditionally, this process involves high energy and environmental costs. However, with LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0, an innovative technology is implemented that harnesses organic waste to produce biogas, a renewable energy source.

The key to this process lies in anaerobic digestion, where microorganisms break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen, generating biogas as a by-product. This biogas, composed mainly of methane, can be used as a fuel to generate electricity and heat, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.

In addition to energy production, the anaerobic digestion process also produces a valuable by-product: digestate. This organic waste can be used as fertiliser in agriculture, further closing the nutrient cycle and promoting sustainability throughout the food chain.

LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 not only demonstrates the technical and economic feasibility of this innovative technology, but also establishes a replicable model to address the challenges of wastewater management and clean energy production at European level and beyond. Through funding and support from the European LIFE programme, this project exemplifies the European Union’s commitment to promoting sustainability and the circular economy.

Looking ahead, the aim is to scale up the results of LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0, implementing this technology in more wastewater treatment plants across Europe and exploring new application opportunities in other industrial sectors. With each step forward, we are one step closer to turning dirt into a valuable resource and building a more sustainable future for generations to come.

In the context of World Water Day, this project adds to providing solutions by demonstrating how seemingly polluted resources can be transformed into a vital source of clean energy and nutrients beneficial to our environment and society. At a time when sustainable water management is becoming increasingly urgent, initiatives such as LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 are a powerful reminder that innovation and collaboration can lead us towards a future where water is an abundant and accessible resource for all.

About LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0

LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 is a pilot demonstration project, funded by LIFE Programme and with a budget of more than 970,000 EUR, which generates biogas in sewage treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming sewage 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, achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas by making optimal use of waste. Thanks to this technology, it favours the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the use 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 FEDER, NextGenerationEU or RePowerEU.