Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Eco-friendly waste treatment

Treatment of waste is a critical issue for most European governments, which are looking for new ways to avoid burdening the environment and at the same time use waste productively.
Eco-friendly waste treatment
Spanish research efforts have yielded a new process suitable for the treatment of oil-rich wastes, which offers a viable alternative to the current standards. The key of the process is the alteration of the physical properties of oils at extreme conditions of pressure and heat.

At supercritical conditions, oils are soluble in water and can then be oxidised to innocuous by-products. The treatment installation includes heat exchangers, which can utilise the heat generated by the oxidation processes and fuel it back into the system. That way there is no need for external energy inputs, maintaining the overall costs at low levels.

One of the main innovative aspects of this novel method is that the end products are a pollutant-free water phase and a carbon-dioxide-rich gaseous phase. Alternative waste treatment approaches result in pollutant-rich sludge, which presents further problems in terms of usage and deposition.

The inventors are seeking to establish licensing agreements with interested parties from the industrial sector. There are prototypes available for testing and demonstration purposes. The cost-saving aspects of this method combined with its favourable environmental profile could render it extremely attractive as a potential waste treatment approach in Europe and elsewhere.
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