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Sustainable olive mill wastewater treatment

A recent EU-funded project aimed at creating growth in and strengthening relationships between regions involved in industrial wastewater treatment. The focus was on olive mill wastewater, which causes a number of environmental problems if left untreated.
Sustainable olive mill wastewater treatment
Clear and sufficient water resources are of vital importance worldwide. Key to wastewater treatment is the exchange of know-how between various individuals to ensure use of the best possible treatment processes.

Three regions, within Greece, Finland and Sweden, were of interest in the ‘Sustainable innovations and treatment in industrial waste water clusters’ (STINNO) project. The regions had the common goal of strengthening research and technology development (RTD) resources for wastewater treatment. In addition, they wanted to develop sustainable and cost- and energy-efficient treatment methods.

STINNO recognised the merits of forming value-added networks to create growth in participating regions. The project included 12 partners from 5 European countries. Researchers identified research clusters in the parent regions. Clusters in different regions tend to approach industrial wastewater management from different angles. In order to stimulate these clusters, they developed a joint action plan.

One joint action that took place was effective knowledge transfer. Mentoring throughout the project specifically ensured the transfer of know-how and the sharing of expertise. More developed and experienced partner regions acted as mentors for less-developed regions.

The project also investigated innovative ways to handle wastewater in an economic and practical manner. Looking specifically at olive oil production, waste can be developed into products such as fertilisers, which are created from the nutrient-rich solid by-products. In addition, the energy and fuel that is produced represents an important source of income.

Thus, the overall impact of the project is one of a socioeconomic nature. In addition to the increased income due to improved wastewater treatment practices, there is an overall positive effect on the environment.

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