The general aim of the proposed project is to set up treatment systems of olive oil mill waste water that allows to obtain both high COD removal and energy recovery in the form of methane and separately of ethanol. Olive oil mill waste water will be processed for energy recovery both directly and after microbiological and/or chemical and physical treatments to reduce the concentration of toxic compounds.
The specific objective of the BIOWARE project can be summarized as follows:
- to carry out a detailed assessment and a critical review of existing technical and scientific knowledge on purification and energy recovery from olive oil waste water.
- to characterize olive oil waste water, with special regard to the extraction technologies and olive variety, in order to establish the factors determining effluent fluctuations;
- to plan and carry out a comprehensive set of experimental investigations at laboratory level aimed at selecting particular metabolic capabilities from olive oil waste water and existing depuration plants;
- to characterize the selected microbial strains and consortia to use as inocula for pilot plants;
- to combine different metabolic capabilities in order to detoxify inhibitory compounds and to produce methane and separately ethanol;
- to realize, energetically independent, pilot plants producing methane and eventually ethanol.
Olive oil is a typical Mediterranean product and its nutritional and economic importance is well known. The waste water from extraction process is highly pollutant due to the high organic carbon content, most of which is present in aromatic compounds (phenols and polyphenols). These compounds are hardly degraded by microflora; in fact most of the microorganisms are sensitive to the inhibitory activity of these components. Moreover the technologies aimed at olive oil waste water purification are inadequate : anaerobic digestion allows only a 80-90% COD removal, insufficient to permit discharges of effluents into the environment, and physical and chemical technologies are not cost effective because of the seasonal character of production and the small size of extraction plants.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
33040 Pradamano (Udine)