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LIFE WALEVA - From Whatever Residue into Levulinic Acid – an innovative way to turn waste into resource

LIFE13 ENV/ES/001165


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Contact details:

Contact person: Vicente López Fernández
Tel: 34911588960
Email: vlfernandez@trsa.es



Project description:

Background

Rice growers commonly deal with rice-straw waste by burning it, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The production of rice in the European Union in 2012 amounted to 3.05 million tonnes. The amount of straw generated is 0.8 tonnes per tonne of rice produced. Thus, 3.05 million tonnes of rice equates to 2.4 million tones of this waste, resulting in 4.1 million tonnes of CO2 emitted during the burning process.

Alternatives to rice-straw burning have been researched but none has so far resulted in a low-cost, sustainable, practical solution. Any alternative use of the rice straw must be economically viable for rice growers.


Objectives

The LIFE WALEVA project will demonstrate how the environmental damage from the burning of rice straw can be eliminated, and the waste can be deployed as raw material with added value by the introduction of a new value chain which ends in the production of LEVA (levulinic acid), a chemical monomer that is in demand because of its uses in a multitude of industrial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, biofuels, general chemistry, polymers and food.

The chemical process, developed in the laboratory by the beneficiary in 2012, will be demonstrated in a pre-industrial plant which will treat 0.5 tonnes/month of rice straw and produce 75-100 kg/month of LEVA. This technology will also be able to utilise other waste streams generated during the process: a stream rich in xylose (XYL) and a solid (bio-charcoal) that will be used to provide energy to the process, making it more energy efficient.

Expected results: The project expects to demonstrate a viable technology with low energy consumption and that uses simple equipment and has a low consumption of reagents.

The expected results are:

  • Treatment of at least 45% of the total Spanish rice-straw residue in the first three years (405 000 tonnes/year of waste). Thereafter, though the project dissemination plan, it is estimated that 65-70% (630 000 tonnes/year of waste) of rice straw residue can be treated using LIFE + WALEVA’s technology nationwide. At European level, the main impact could be in Italy and Greece, which are the main producer countries alongside Spain. The amount of rice straw treated with the LIFE + WALEVA’s technology will be around 40% of the total (1.2 million tonnes/year) over the next five years;
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions by 688,000 tonnes/year during the first three years and 1.07 megatonnes/year during the subsequent five years. At European level we estimate that CO2 emissions can be reduced by about 2.04 megatonnes/year;
  • Production of LEVA in high yield (18-22%) and high purity (95-98%). Production volumes are expected to be 40 500 tonnes/year in the first three years after the end of the project, increasing to 63 000 tonnes/year in the subsequent five years. At European level, LEVA production could reach 156 000 tonnes/year within five years after the project’s end; and
  • Bio-charcoal production would be about 200 kg/month. It could have a heating value of approximately 25.6 megajoules/kg (with 15% ash). Different industrial monomers, such as formic acid, will also be produced by the process.


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Energy - Efficiency
Energy - Savings
Energy - Supply
Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Industry-Production - Chemicals
Waste - Agricultural waste
Waste - Waste use


Keywords

energy saving‚  waste use‚  waste recycling‚  emission reduction‚  waste reduction‚  chemical industry‚  greenhouse gas‚  energy supply‚  agricultural waste


Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator TÉCNICAS REUNIDAS S.A.
Type of organisation International enterprise
Description TÉCNICAS REUNIDAS is an international general contractor, engaged in engineering, design and construction of industrial facilities for a broad spectrum of customers. TR’s proprietary technology development division works on industrial plants based on in-house technologies and processes, focused on the recovery of non-ferrous metals and other electrochemical processes.
Partners CICYTEX(CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTÍFICAS Y TECNOLÓGICAS DE EXTREMADURA), Spain CCO(Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Ourense), Spain

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Project reference LIFE13 ENV/ES/001165
Duration 02-JUN-2014 to 31-MAR -2017
Total budget 1,633,680.00 €
EU contribution 816,839.00 €
Project location Madrid(España)

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Project web site Project's website

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