The project aimed to overcome the problem of pollution due to heavy metals contained in different industrial waste flows (metallurgy, chemistry, petroleum, etc.) by absorption of mycelium granulates, obtained by the drying-out of biological sludge waste from the European Fermentation Industries. From the environmental point of view the possibility of reducing the heavy metal content in industrial waste flows by using a by-product (mycelium), which has little or no value, is very promising. The process then brings about a joint solution to two crucial problems: heavy metals and fermentation sludge. From the economic point of view the current processes for treating heavy metals at residual low concentration is through the use of ion exchangers resins. The economic interest of using the mycelium granulates is linked to their very low cost with reference to ion exchangers resins (at equivalent adsorption capacity).
From the technical point of view the innovation is at different levels :
- the use of fibrous fungi (granulated) to absorb heavy metals
- the operating of this absorption in liquid/solid fluidized bed reactors.
The objective of this project was to confirm at pilot scale and then in an industrial context, the results obtained within the framework of the REWARD research programme. Thus, the programme focused on the design, realisation and experimentation of a pilot reactor with a capacity in the order of one cubic metre, to be set up on a site in Luxembourg. Trials were carried out at two Spanish companies (ITB and TECCI). These tests were undertaken by a Spanish testing body, Inasmet.