On April 21st 2023, CT-BETA, Mafrica and INNOVACC organized a Circularity Day of resources in the meat industry in the University of Manresa. A total of 60 participants from meat industries, research centres, public health agency, different manufactures for industrial processes, among others, attended the workshop.
The workshop is part of the European AccelWater project, led in Spain by CT-BETA, in which MAFRICA and Cluster INNOVACC also participates and is a key example of the potential that solutions based on circular bioeconomy can have. Therefore, during the day the 4 pillars of which the project deals were discussed: water, waste, energy, and technologies.
In the first part of the meeting, there were presentations by Carme Chacón, from Health department; Jaume Margarit, from sustainable strategic projects area; Glòria Batlló, from Catalan waste agency and Xavier Amores, from Catalan Water Partnership cluster.
Carme Chacón spoke about the concept of reusing wastewater and the additional process that this water requires. In particular, the great challenge we have, which goes hand in hand with the new RD 3/2023 which establishes the technical-sanitary criteria for the quality of water consumption, its control, and the supply, in order to be able to reuse water especially in food industries. Carme Chacón expressed the awareness of the need to develop projects related to water reuse and the importance of the authorities making a statement to make the regulations more flexible. She concluded that we need a circular water economy in which wate reuse plays a key role.
Then, Jaume Margarit discussed the two proposals on the table, both of which are aimed at achieving energy and climate neutrality. On the one hand, he explained Catalonia 2050 prospective energy and on the other hand, the short-term Catalonia plan on energy and climate.
Glòria Batlló, defined waste as “the best waste is that which is not generated”. She talked about those generated mainly in the meat industry and their valorisation.
Finally, Xavier Amores concluded the first part of the workshop talking about the future of water, technologies, and solutions for its management. And the challenges we have as a society in water regeneration and consumer awareness. As well as the projects that they work on from the cluster.
The second part of the workshop began with a presentation by Mariona Pratdesaba, from the INNOVACC cluster, setting out the concerns and needs of the sector regarding water management.
The first project presented by Esther Vega, CT-BETA Researcher, was REAQUA, from the call Grups Operatius 2021 (DACC). According to the study carried out by CT-BETA, 11.8Hm³ of water is consumed annually by the meat sector, of which 15% may have reuse potential.
Finally, Lidia Paredes, CT-BETA researcher, presented the AccelWater project of the H2020 call, explaining the technological proposals that have been developed from the research centre, such as the membrane bioreactor, the electrodialysis system and the UV system with which it is possible to obtain recovered water and nutrients. Thanks to the AccelWater project, it has been seen that 547,000 m³/year of recovered water could be reused for cleaning trucks and corrals.
At the end of the workshop, we went to visit the pilot plant that has been launched in Mafrica as part of the European AccelWater project and that has been in operation in 2022 until 2024. During this visit, we could see the two treatment lines available at the pilot plant.
The first line processes the wastewater to recover high quality water with the potential to be reused in the industrial facility itself and a liquid product concentrated in nutrients with the potential to be valorised in agriculture. The second line is the valorisation of solid waste, with the aim of recovering energy and producing high added-value products, such as biofertilizers and biostimulants.
Technologies developed allow bioenergy to be obtained in the form of biogas or biomass suitable for use in a conventional boiler, which opens the door to new strategies for improving sustainability in the meat industry.