DEMONSTRATION OF KDV TECH - First Implementation Of A New Waste Recovery Technology Converting The Msw From A Representative Urban Region Into Synthetic Diesel Fuel

LIFE09 ENV/ES/000484

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Fernando PEREZ
Tel: +34 973 263300
Fax: +34 973 264002
Email: fperez@grinyo.com

Project description:


Waste generation is a serious social and environmental problem for modern economies. Inappropriate waste management can impact on the climate, ecosystems and human health. However, when waste is correctly managed it can become a resource, helping to conserve natural resources and contribute to sustainable development objectives. In Spain, a high proportion of waste is still disposed of in landfill. However, the national plan for waste 2007-15 encourages new practices based on selective collection, recycling, and stabilisation and recovery of non-useful fractions.


The DEMONSTRATION OF KDV TECH project aimed to develop the first full-scale demonstration of catalytic depolymerisation technology for the processing of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in a Catalonian district of 177 000 inhabitants. This demonstration plant, designed to treat up to 30 000 tonnes of mixed MSW per year, used catalytic depolymerisation technology to convert mixed biodegradable MSW (i.e. the non-recyclable fraction) into a synthetic diesel, which can replace conventional diesel. Specific objectives included technical and feasibility studies of the new waste recovery technology, and the repositioning of the beneficiary company as a ‘neutral carbon emissions’ enterprise.


The DEMONSTRATION OF KDV TECH project developed the first pilot plant with demonstrative capacity based on innovative DieselR technology. The DieselR process utilises a catalyst to break down long carbon chains (polymers) into shorter carbon chains that comprise a high-quality diesel fuel. The process represents a clean, quick and efficient treatment for biodegradable non-recyclable waste fractions of urban origin. The facility in Constantí has the capability of reducing the amount of urban waste sent to landfill by 40 000 tonnes/year and producing 15 000 tonnes tons/year of diesel fuel, which implies an annual reduction of 44 000 tonnestons of CO2 emissions. The beneficiary successfully modified the available catalytic depolymerisation technology for the treatment of solid waste, in a way that overcomes the technical limitations of other solutions implemented to date. Built to be consistent with the guidelines of the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) and Directive 1999/31/EC, which requires Member States to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, the pilot facility has sufficient capacity to treat around 30 000 tonnes of mixed non-recyclable waste, equivalent to that generated by 180 000 inhabitants in an urban area.

GRIÑO ECOLOGIC, S.A., the sole beneficiary, originally designed a progressive strategy in three stages to achieve the necessary modifications to an existing pilot plant. The first stage involved the fitting out of the existing plant to operate in continuous conditions, with a treatment capacity of 200 l/h. The beneficiary designed, as a second stage, a technological improvement plan to increase the treatment capacity to 900 l/h, while a third stage would see a second catalytic treatment unit added to bring the total treatment capacity to 1 800 l/h. The operating tests were started in September 2012 using mineral oil, with a capacity of more than 200 l/h being achieved. However, due to problems with pipe blockages, the subsequent technological changes were made gradually so that they could be closely monitored and modified whenever necessary. By October 2013, modifications were made to increase performance to the maximum 1 800 l/h. With the current production capacity of the pilot plant and the operating levels achieved, a production of over 11 000 cubic metres of synthetic diesel fuel can be expected per year.

During the modification stage, the beneficiary optimised the process by identifying the most suitable fluidisation liquids to be used, such as mineral oil or dried MARPOL residues, and by finding that the best results were obtained used by using a mixture of crushed solid waste with a 25-40% of Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) enriched with low density polyethylene. Several adjustments in the heat exchanger were carried out to stabilise the process and these have improved its performance. In addition, the beneficiary reduced the coking time and prolonged the running time in continuous conditions. The inerts treatment module currently operates under continuous conditions for no more than 14 days in a row, so further redesigning is necessary to allow the plant to work continuously for longer periods.

Finally, aside from reducing 40 000 tonnes/year of urban waste that would otherwise end in landfills, the technology produces up to 15 000 tonnes/year of alternative fuel which implies a reduction of 44 000 tons of CO2, thus contributing to climate change mitigation and biofuel production (2009/28/EC Renewable Energy Directive). The project’s programme for disseminating and communicating project results focused on the advantages of the new technology compared to currently used technologies, with regard to environmental issues, economic viability and social acceptance. During the project’s implementation, more than 300 people (mainly from public authorities and private companies) visited the pilot facility.

Diesel R technology has a huge potential in terms of replication in other municipal districts. The project has given this technology a definitive step towards its future application in 100% profitable and exploitable commercial facilities. The new technology has found a higher public acceptance than conventional waste management technologies, due to the absence of nuisance smells and particles. In addition, the final product of the process, an alternative diesel fuel, has quite good commercial acceptance.

An ex-post follow up visit was carried out by the external monitoring team in May 2016, two and a half years after the project’s completion. The project developed the first full-scale demonstration of catalytic depolymerisation technology for the processing of the non-recyclable stream of urban solid waste, and turned it into a fuel (DieselR). This fuel cannot be used directly in vehicles because of its sulphur level, but companies are now interested in mixing the DieselR with standard diesel so that the DieselR is diluted and sulphur levels remain within permitted legal limits. Since the end of the project, the plant has treated on average 6 000 tons of waste per year, producing 2 700 tons of DieselR.

The ex-post visit found that the project’s catalytic depolymerisation plant has been in continuous operation. The project’s plant has been processing the non-recyclable waste streams from local entities, which previously sent their waste to landfill. These entities decided to manage their waste streams using KDV technology due to the economic and environmental benefits. The plant is currently treating the whole non-recyclable waste stream of the municipality of Torredembarra – a key factor being the increased costs of landfilling. To a lesser extent, the plant is treating waste streams from the county of Alt Camp and the Ecoparc of Barcelona.

The beneficiary considers the KDV technology at industrial scale as a strategic factor in its future business plan. It has initiated a process to increase the performance of the plant, which was ongoing at the time of the ex-post visit, but this was advancing slowly due to the limited financial resources of the beneficiary. The ex-post considered that with the support of external funding, the optimisation of the process would be speeded up and subsequently commercialised and replicated. By transforming waste into a new resources the project is still highly relevant, possibly even more so than before due to the adoption of the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy in December 2015. This stresses the necessity of diverting plastics away from landfills and incineration into recycling, in order to create a circular economy. The project therefore has great potential and numerous public and private entities have shown interest in the development of the technology. In fact, some of the main waste management companies have started similar business ventures recently, but the beneficiary is a step ahead of them thanks to the LIFE project.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Energy - Supply
Waste - Municipal waste (including household and commercial)


use of waste as energy source‚  urban area‚  waste recycling‚  municipal waste‚  climate protection

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation International enterprise
Description GRIÑO ECOLOGIC, S.A. focuses on the management and treatment of industrial, port, construction and urban waste. It is part of the GRIÑÓ group, a conglomerate with more than 70 years of experience in waste management.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE09 ENV/ES/000484
Duration 01-OCT-2010 to 31-DEC -2013
Total budget 4,871,800.00 €
EU contribution 2,338,400.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (Spanish version)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Video link Project's video 1 (EN 5.28')
Video link Project's video 1 (ES 5.28')
Video link Project's video 2 (EN, 1.58')
Video link Project's video 2 (CA, 1.58')
Video link Project's video 1 (CATALA 5.28')
Video link Project's video 2 (ES,1.58')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version