number 014. July / august 2015
CONTENTS published CARTIF Research Centre Boecillo Technology Park. Valladolid, Spain www.cartif.com
staff CARTIF Communication Department
collaborations Sustainable Processes Area
photography CARTIF archive. Cover and back cover picture: Typop贸tamo
THE NEW IND
In recent years, innovation in the energy and agrofood industry has signified profitability, quality and sustainability. Food and energy supply problems for a growing population need competent technologies to take the highest output possible from raw material. The waste valorization is one of the main research lines in CARTIF. A constant demand in recent years has been the search for solutions to use waste that comes from the production processes in companies. Creating new products, either biofuel from plants, food with functional properties or cosmetics from discarded pieces from the raw material, has become an interesting business direction to compete in a saturated market. This issue of CARTIF NEWSVIEW is focused on the research that allows to recover waste through three models of industrial plants that combine different technologies to optimize production processes.
cartif news This news selection is just a small sample of the Center activities in the last months. You can follow us through our web and social networks. ABERDEEN, LATEST MEMBER OF THE CITyFiED COMMUNITY OF INTEREST The CITyFiED Community of Interest represents a group of 40 cities that will benefit according to the possible results obtained at the main demonstrators of the project. These will work as a team towards the implementation of innovative energy efficient methodologies and procedures. Aberdeen is working on becoming the ‘Energy Capital of Europe,’ in contrast with its past appellation as the ‘Oil Capital of Europe.’ The objective is the development of a hydrogen economy in the city based on the reduction of emissions and the use of these alternative energies.
ADVANCEMENTS IN THE BRICKER PROJECT After two years of work, the integration and material demonstration of the European project BRICKER have commenced. The aim of this project is to improve the energetic behavior of public non-residential buildings through solution packages and to integrate a tri-generation system capable of producing electricity, heating and cooling simultaneously. The implementation on the demosites in Cáceres (Spain), Liège (Belgium) and Aydin (Turkey) are expected to finish by the end of 2016.
FIRST RESULTS FROM THE RESEARCH IN THE LIFE VALPORC PROJECT This project aims to demonstrate a sustainable alternative to the management of pig carcasses and manure. The results obtained so far by the CARTIF team demonstrate that the co-digestion of meat derivatives (flours and fats) with the produced waste in the rendering and pig manure processes is a viable alternative to manage efficiently these residual currents. This case study demonstrates that the animal by-products are substrates to consider in the biofuel production processes, although their high content in fat and protein may generate inhibition problems due to the presence of fatty acids and ammonia in industrial digesters.
BEGINNING ACTIONS IN THE SPANISH DEMONSTRATOR AT THE E2VENT PROJECT Starting in the autumn, the room where the energy efficiency project E2VENT will take place at the University of Burgos (UBU) will become the demonstrator laboratory of this rehabilitation of residential and commercial buildings. At this stage, the CARTIF research team will design the intelligent energy management system, which will include various intelligent decision strategies with the usual control and management tools for heating and air conditioning systems, as well as the characteristic new elements of the E2VENT solution â€“ such as the energy storage or the air exchanger systems. Energy savings of more than 40% are expected, as well as a decrease of, at least, 40% in CO2 emissions.
keywords natural extracts new products
protein isolates waste new processes industrial plants
The exploitation of biomass and products of plant origin for obtaining energy dates back to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. More than a hundred years ago, the German engineer Rudolf Diesel designed an engine prototype that worked with peanut oil. In 1908, Henry Fordâ€™s first vehicles would work using ethanol, and in the 1930s, Ford himself designed and built a biofuel plant in Kansas that produced about 38,000 liters of ethanol a day using corn as raw material. This product was served in more than 2,000 gas stations in the United States.
The common goal for this type of projects is always giving added value to raw materials to become them into new products
The viability of these rendering plants for products of plant origin has always been dependent on the price of fossil fuels and, mostly, oil. Said prices kept at a low level during the first half of the past century, preventing plants from becoming economically viable. These installations have recovered their value due to the various price hikes as well as the concerns for their scarcity during the last third of the 20th century and beginnings of the 21st century.
However, energy production is not the only purpose for these products of plant origin. The abundance of certain raw material in a given area or time of year, low prices or excess waste from production processes, stimulate the creation of plants that transform and get a high added value from them. Thanks to these installations, not only do we get the highest profit from each raw material, but also the catalog increases to offer the consumers new products. Besides the energy industry, others such as the pharmaceutical industry, food industry â€“ either human or animal â€“, cosmetics industry, herbal medicine industry, etc. benefit from this product transformation. This waste re-rendering is one of the main research lines in CARTIF, and from which numerous innovative projects and effective solutions have emerged to gain profitability from the waste produced by companies. The common goal for this type of projects is always giving added value to raw material that, after several treatment processes, transforms into new products. As for crops such as corn, beetroot or artichoke, their residue may be used as components of a certain medication or for biogas extraction. These new uses are conceived through the modification of processes, in which different technologies are combined often with surprising results. To this purpose, plants are designed according to the type and capacity of the residue, the quantity of final product to obtain and the working days per
year. Once this information is known, the installation is designed. These adapt to the requirements and characteristics of the products that companies want to give value to. However, researchers from CARTIF design multipurpose plants, that is, versatile plants that allow the introduction of any product of the same kind, so that a company does not need dozens of plants to render the different types of green waste it recovers and it can carry out the same process in one plant. Before the design, it is necessary to make a series of preliminary testing in the laboratory at an intermediate scale. When the required product is obtained from the extract, the plant is designed in industrial size. The laboratory tests aim to attain a product of the highest worth possible on the market.
The laboratory tests aim to attain a product of the highest worth possible on the market
The viability of these plants is measured by three fundamental variables. First, the technic al v iabili t y, which means that the plant has to function correctly and provide the amount of product for which it was designed; second, the economic viability, by which the minimum requirement is that the return of investment takes up to ten years at most; and last, the environmental variable, meaning that the process is sustainable, that its energy expense is minimum and that it is not aggressive to its surroundings. Among the waste treatment lines that have given way to the creation of three different plants over the past few years in CARTIF, these are the most distinctive examples.
Natural products extraction plant In this instance, the aim is to carry out a process of extraction of active principles from plant-based raw materials. The capacity of this installation is 12,000 liters of plant extract per day. The raw material it works with is plant residue, of these varieties: angelica, root powder, horsetail or marshmallow. The raw material goes through a mill and a micronizer that reduces it to dust. For its application into herbal medicine or nutrition, this process is normally enough. However, to extract another row of product, it is necessary to dissolve in water and ethanol in different amounts. With this process, we obtain natural extracts of high added value on markets such as the pharmaceutical industry, food industry and valorizing companies. The application amount of the resulting product in pills, lotions or food colorings, among others, is a matter of formulation that the company that carries the residue and benefits from the final product is responsible for.
Bioethanol plant or biorefinery The most striking characteristic of this plant is that it was designed to obtain bioethanol from artichokes, a vegetable that spreads by the division of tubers, such as the potato, but belonging to the sunflower family. Its cultivation is not common in Spain, not even in Europe, but in Central and South America, where the climate is more appropriate. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is a chemical product obtained from the fermentation of sugar in raw materials such as the artichoke. This bioethanol can be directly blended with gasoline. In this case, it must be practically absolute, close to a 100%
degree of purity. If it were used unblended as fuel, a 96% degree of purity would be enough, but currently there are not engines adapted to unblended ethanol use in Spain. This plant allows the production of a totality of 1,000 tons of bioethanol per day for 200 working days, which means 200,000 annual tons of bioethanol. However, in Spain, bioethanol is not such as valued a product by the oil industry as in other countries. While our fuel carries about 2% of bioethanol blend, in countries like Brazil, the quantity of this product exceeds 90%.
Innovation in food industry, much more profitable than other economic sectors In the past few years, innovation in processes related to the energy and food industry has become essential. It is a good time to invest in this sector, now that data shows we are facing a global supply crisis. According to a report from the American consulting firm McKinsey about the challenge of meeting the global food necessities, if the current tendency maintains, our calorie needs will increase by 70% and the harvest demand for human and animal consumption will double. Their researchers claim that global investment in the agro-food sector has tripled since 2004, reaching the 100,000 million dollars in 2013, and return rates have shown that said growth was justified:
Protein isolates plant Protein hydrolysates are widely used in food technology for their nutritional or functional properties (solubility, emulsifying capacity, foaming capacity, etc.). In the plan designed by CARTIF, we extract proteins from high-protein vegetable meals (peas, chickpeas, legumes), and even from agroindustrial waste. This process is performed through three phases: first, the meal is brought to a basic pH that dissolves the proteins; second, it is subjected to a treatment with acid pH so it precipitates, meaning that the proteins separate from the liquid; and in the last phase, it is put through a process of centrifugation to obtain them. In regard to this plant, the objective is to create a subproduct with higher protein content than 50%. The purer the obtained product is in protein content, the less quantity is needed so that, for example, fodder for animal fattening is rich in protides.
the agro-food industry has been offering an average profitability of 17%, much higher than in other industries.
The processes perfomed in these plants need their degree of innovation to be constantly growing so that they become as efficient and viable as possible
Waste recovery plants resolve many serious problems, related to these supply needs: they recover food waste, reduce the necessary quantity of water to produce food and increase the shelf life of food and harvest-derived products. The processes performed in these plants need their degree of innovation to be constantly growing so that they become as efficient and viable as
possible. Commercial solutions are not enough, as each industry may consider obtaining new products from their raw material and waste. In recent years, the CARTIF research team has created products that range from cosmetic products using peel and grape seeds, to fodder for animal fattening using legume flour, or food pigment and coloring using tomato skin. In conclusion, a wide range of possibilities to reduce waste, exploit the capacity of secondary raw materials and offer new quality products in an increasingly demanding market
the project SH BUILDINGS The optimization of management and the preventive conser vation of historic-cultural heritage was the main objec tive of the SHBuildings project, which has just come to an end. Three years of work accomplished by the partners (CARTIF, AIDIMA, TECNALIA, NOBATEK, Universidad Nova de Lisboa and Santa María la Real) have allowed the development of a system that, if applied extensively, would be capable of reducing the €70,000 m i l l i o n t h a t Eu ro p e assigns to maintenance and conser vation, energ y, secur i t y, rehabilitation, treatments and management of its historic-artistic heritage. Likewise, it would bear a reduction of up to 40% of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, which are derived from the energy use in historic buildings within the totality of the building stock.
The SH Buildings system will allow a decrease of 50% in the historical heritage management costs
This highly elevated rate – assessed by experts in par ticular cases and approximate rates provided by countries with respect to their GDP – confirms the complexities of management and maintenance efficiency owing to the building dimensions and the high specialization that virtually every invervention demands. The SH Buildings system func tions in a preventive manner, watching the building in real time and providing information with sufficient
time to avoid irreversible deterioration. Previous sensorization of buildings, a platform controls the totality of sensors â€“ with wireless data transmission â€“ and processes information using algorithms. In this way, it controls illumination and human movement, or cracks in the structure with accelerometers and fissurometers. Using the same system, xylophagous agents such as termite or woodworms can be detected, and carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity levels are measured in order to avoid putrid fungi in wood, which could rapidly deteriorate altarpieces, coffer ceiling and other invaluable pieces. Introducing this system will increase heritage preventive conser vation, improve energy efficiency, establish a precise visit monitoring system, and protect buildings and their historical element s from spoils, robberies and vandalism. Finally, each building is analyzed to adapt the system to its surroundings, so that the totality of devices along with the management that their programming provides, defines an integral system of heritage observation. The SHBuildings system has been validated for three years in the Cathedral of Palencia, the Roriz Chapel in Portugal, and the Basque Museum in Bayonne (France), concluding a development that has followed the European Union policies for Horizon 2020. More than 400 sensors and devices have been installed into the three monitored buildings. The CARTIF research team has been in charge of the technical development of the monitorization in the Cathedral of Palencia. As a result of the work, the good condition of the temple is guaranteed, and those weak points that must be revised are identified. The team has studied aspects related to humidity, energy consumption, heating and even visitor flows, turning the temple into the first intelligent cathedral in Spain.
Info Day on the Horizon 2020 . ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’
Nordic Edge Expo 2015
Presentation of the 3 European Ligthouse Projects.
Presentation of the final results of this FP VII Project.
Presentation of the REMOURBAN Project.
CARTIF facilities, Valladolid (Spain)
Kick off meeting of the LIFE BATTLE CO2 Project + INFO
CARTIF facilities, Valladolid (Spain)
Kick off meeting of the OPTEEMAL Project + INFO
Info Day Smart Cities and Communities Presentation of the REMOURBAN Project
CARTIF Technology Centre corporate magazine