Technological Centre

CETIM promotes circular economy in Galician strategic sectors creating high added value products from waste

CETIM Technological Centre collaborates in six innovative researches applied in strategic sectors for Galicia: forestry, aquaculture, water, dairy, livestock and renewable energies.


BIOCHARMB, DEGRADE, MEXICAL AND BIOPOL will be executed in several phases until 2020 by a consortium of 13 leading companies in these areas.


Patricia Argerey Vilar, director of the Axencia Galega de Innovación (GAIN), attended the presentation of BIOPOL today, which, like the rest of the projects, is funded through the Connect PEME call of the Xunta de Galicia.



Culleredo, January 24, 2019. – CETIM, Multisector Research Technology Centre collaborates in four technological projects in the Connect PEME of the Xunta de Galicia that will contribute to the modernization of the Galician primary sector through the creation of high value products added from waste in addition to solving environmental problems. In all cases, BIOCHARMB, BIOPOL, DEGRADE and MEXICAL, are applied research in which CETIM works as a scientific and technical collaborator to develop new technologies that will open new business routes in industries associated with the forestry, fishing and dairy industries that will be added to the new circular economy model. Another direct consequence will be the creation of up to 88 “green jobs” five years ahead.


The four works will be carried out in several phases until the end of 2020, with a total budget of 3.9 million euros, of which 56% (€ 2.2 million) is financed through the Connect PEME program of the Axencia Galega de Innovation (GAIN) and the rest (€ 1.7M) corresponds to private financing provided by the 13 partners that collaborate in the projects.



Dairy industry waste to encapsulate fragrances

This afternoon, Patricia Argerey Vilar, director of the Axencia Galega de Innovación (GAIN), attended the official presentation of the BIOPOL project that will help solve the problem of the large amount of waste generated by the dairy industry (whey, serum permeate, cleaning waters etc.). An example is the whey, a byproduct of cheese production, which can multiply by 9 the amount of food manufactured.


The research will focus on designing a technology to obtain biopolymers – a sustainable plastic obtained from green sources – of high degradability (20-200 days) from by-products and waste generated in the production of milk and derivatives. Apart from replacing the use of petroleum-derived polymers, the application of biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) will focus on testing the removal of heavy metals from wastewater and improving the encapsulation of aromas and fragrances for the detergents and cosmetics sector. As a consequence, BIOPOL will also contribute to boost and open a new market for a strategic sector in Galicia that brings together 40% of the national milk production.


The biological extraction of biopolymers is more efficient, sustainable and economical, and based on by-products, their production of food such as corn is disconnected, thus avoiding possible repercussions in the food chain. The BIOPOL consortium consists of INDUTEC Ingenieros (leader), ENSO Innovation, the cooperative DAIRYLAC, CARINSA and SOELEC Spain.



Without drugs in wastewater

The DEGRADE project aims to disinfect and eliminate up to 90% of emerging pollutants from wastewater by UV-LED photoelectrocatalysis, 30% cheaper than current ultraviolet treatments. The presence of drugs, hormones, drugs or personal care and hygiene products, among others, is a growing concern in sewage treatment plants due to the high pressure on aquatic ecosystems and the negative consequences on the environment, human health and productive sectors like fishing, one of the economic engines of Galicia. However, stations equipped with technologies capable of eliminating these toxic compounds are scarce and expensive to operate, since they are designed to treat solids, organic matter, nutrients and microorganisms. The research will be developed first in the laboratory and then scaled in a pilot plant with water from a WWTP. The DEGRADE consortium is formed by the companies INTACTA (leader), NANOGAP and Ledisson.



Biochar for landfill

The BIOCHARMB project will develop a model of biomass exploitation based on the transformation of plant remains into biochar (a vegetal charcoal) through combustion by pyrolysis. This natural absorbent will be used as a basis to develop two technologies for the treatment of gases in landfills and wastewater. In parallel, the reuse of biomass will eliminate waste from the Galician mountains, thus contributing to its cleaning and indirectly to the reduction of fires. That is, apart from developing sustainable treatment systems and low cost construction and operation, BIOCHARM opens the way to diversify and increase the competitiveness of the forestry sector. The consortium of companies is formed by INTACTA (leader), GESTÁN, Valora Consultores and ENSO Innovation.



Mussel shell for animal feed

MEXICAL is another circular economy project with CETIM as a technological collaborator to study the integral valorization of mussel shells and obtain two products with high added value such as mineral fertilizers for soils and feed for birds. At present, Galicia is the second world producer of mussels, so the development of new technologies to transform its waste, the shell, into raw material opens a new business path for the canning industry. The multidisciplinary consortium that will carry out this research, and its subsequent application, consists of Galaytec (leader), INDUTEC Ingenieros, TRESIMA and Vitalmar.



Other collaborations

The CETIM Technological Center will also collaborate in two other Conecta PEME projects. This is PURENER through which it will analyze the location of a lagoon (wetland for water treatment) that will be placed behind a slurry digester; and MODUL. Within the framework of the latter, technologies will be developed to facilitate the implementation of clean energy in remote regions and extreme climate.