LIFE DIANA - Development of a pilot unit for the valorization of PRS (Petroleum Refinery Sludges) to new added-value raw materials

LIFE16 ENV/GR/000461

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Contact details:

Contact person: Maria Emmanouilidou
Tel: 302108093371
Fax: 302108093180
Email: emmanoma@moh.gr

Project description:


In Greece, petroleum refineries produce around 34 000 tonnes of petroleum sludge (PRS) per year, while the corresponding PRS quantities produced in Europe are estimated to be around 1 million tonnes. PRS, due to their high hydrocarbons and heavy metals content, are classified as hazardous waste and their production considerably increases the environmental footprint of oil production process. Due to the complex and inconstant composition of PRS, cost-effective treatment and proper disposal pose considerable technical and industrial challenges worldwide. These wastes are a major source of pollution to the aquatic environment since they are composed of oil and grease along with many other toxic organic compounds (including ammonia, sulphides, phenols and hydrocarbons). The total quantity of aqueous effluent discharged by European petroleum refineries is 2.5 billion tonnes/year. Clean-up technologies, such as incineration, plasma treatment and sludge burial in secure landfills, are expensive. Furthermore, although bio-treatment reduces the organic content of PRS, there is no economically-viable technology available to reduce its metal content. It is therefore necessary to apply technologies that will effectively address both issues efficiently from an economic and environmental point of view.


The objective of the LIFE DIANA project is the smart exploitation of petroleum sludge (PRS) produced by the Corinth Refineries of Motor Oil Hellas. The project aims to demonstrate that PRS, when treated with modified industrial minerals such as perlite and bentonite, can generate a valorised sludge mixture (VSM) and thus transform a hazardous waste material into an added-value commercial product with a low environmental risk. The specific aim is to develop a stable high-quality engineered soil, by mixing VSM with soil improvers, to achieve properties suitable for the cost-effective construction and restoration of landfill sites and abandoned quarries. Due to its tailored properties, the engineered soil can substitute for much larger quantities of materials currently used for these purposes.

LIFE DIANA targets the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Through the efficient valorisation and re-use of combined wastes from different industries, it will create new circular business concepts, promote the eco-design of new waste valorisation chains, and stimulate the development of innovative waste technologies and exploitation systems. The project also contributes to the Waste Framework Directive and the Soil Thematic Strategy with an emphasis on soil sealing and improved land use.

Expected results: The LIFE DIANA project aims to achieve the following expected results:

  • Construction of an industrial-scale plant for oil sludge stabilisation, at the source of waste petroleum sludge (PRS) at Motor Oil Hellas refineries;
  • Reduction of the waste volumes produced by the Greek petrochemicals industry, with 3 500 tonnes of PRS per year transformed into valuable products, avoiding landfill, at the demonstration plant;
  • Development and demonstration of new processes and technologies, through the use of industrial minerals that naturally occur in Greece and other countries, that leads to the elimination of the negative environmental impact of PRS, and which can be adopted by other chemical industries;
  • Creation of a new business model to cover the requirement for the soil quantity and quality for use in the construction and restoration of landfills;
  • Development of new materials to increase the sales revenues and the profitability of the companies transforming toxic wastes into commercial products of higher value-to-customer, and the creation of additional sustainable business activity in the nearby area. It is estimated that more than 10 000 tonnes per year of engineered soil will become available to local landfill companies and for quarry rehabilitation purposes; and
  • Publication of guidelines for the manufacture of engineered soil and its use as a multi-purpose construction material.



Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Circular economy and Value chains
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection
Waste - Waste recycling


waste recycling‚  sludge treatment‚  decontamination‚  oil refinery‚  landfill‚  resource conservation

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2006)231 - “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (22.09.2006)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description Motor Oil Hellas (MOH) is a petroleum company founded in 1970 and based in Greece. It focuses on crude oil refining, producing a full range of value-added petroleum products, and trading. Today, its market share accounts for around 34% of the Greek market and 50% of the country’s exports in the petroleum sector. The MOH refinery, with its ancillary plants and offsite facilities, forms the largest privately-held industrial complex in Greece. The company participates in many research projects, including biofuel co-processing and chemical processes.
Partners National Technical University of Athens, Greece Power Media Productions S.A., Greece Municipality of Rafina-Pikermi, Greece


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/GR/000461
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 30-JUN -2021
Total budget 2,051,585.00 €
EU contribution 983,955.00 €
Project location Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Dytiki Makedonia(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Ipeiros(Ellas) Ionia Nisia(Ellas) Dytiki Ellada(Ellas) Sterea Ellada(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas) Voreio Aigaio(Ellas) Notio Aigaio(Ellas) Kriti(Ellas)


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