When we design and implement new industrial plants and processes, our first goal is to find solutions with the least possible environmental impact.
At the same time, we are committed to study and deploy more environmentally sustainable industrial processes, especially aimed at wastewater treatment in the olive oil industry; in this sector, we successfully implemented sustainable processes for obtaining bioplastics, biofuels and elements used in the cosmetics industry.
(Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from olive oil mills wastewater)
The objective of this project was the development and implementation of a new process to turn the olive oil waste water into an energy source for biopolimers production.
The main scientific goals of the POLYVER project were:
- The implementation of a new wastewater treatment process
- The implementation of a new process for the production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
- The upscaling of the process to meet the industrial targets
The work carried out by Labor comprised:
- The design of the water pre – and post – treatment process
- The design and implementation of the pilot plant
- The testing phase of the pilot plant
- The implementation of a process for the extraction and purification of bioplastics
Bioethanol has been increasingly becoming a renewable energy source that could reduce the oil dependence of the developed countries. Biorefineries can use locally grown agriculture to produce ethanol. However, the food chain supply is beginning to suffer the effects of the ethanol massive production raising major ethical concerns.
Cellulosic ethanol can overcome the environmental risks that accompany the surge of harvest biomass feedstocks and thus can represent a real and pursuable technology for the future. According to the US DOE life-cycle analysis, ethanol from cellulose reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 90% compared to gasoline.
Cellulosic biomass is the most abundant biomaterial on earth it is available almost in any country. Vegetal residues (wheat and rice straw, olive oils residues, etc.) can constitute a renewable source of raw materials for cellulosic ethanol production plants.
Currently, only a few pilot plants are producing bioethanol from lignocellulosic feedstock using an enzymatic hydrolysis process.
Olive oil residues can constitute a valuable resource as a low-cost feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production. At least 2 million tonnes of cellulose are discarded on the Mediterranean area every year, representing both an environmental problem and a waste of a valuable resource.
The ETOILE project intends to develop a new integrated process where olive mill wastewater from the traditional three-phase centrifugation process is purified and at the same time, cellulase enzymes are obtained. These enzymes are then used onto the solid olive oil residues, such as olive pulp and husks, to obtain ethanol. The research envisaged will thus provide a viable alternative to the growing bioethanol industry seeking new cost-effective production processes competitive with the oil industry.
LABOR has been responsible for:
- The development of the process for the production of ethanol from olive oil wastes;
- The development of the ethanol purification process
- Design and implementation of the pilot plant
- Process validation and tailoring to the industrial application
(Technology for Treatment and Recycling of the Water Used to Wash Olives)
The objective of the project was the development of a novel approach for recycling the drinking water used in the olive washing process.
In this case, we took care of:
- The definition of the system requirements and specifications
- The design of the electrical layout and the PCB of system the electronic control unit
- The installation of the final prototype and the execution of the final tests