`Project Uses Waste from Olive Oil Production to Power the Mill Itself - Olive Oil Times

Project Uses Waste from Olive Oil Production to Power the Mill Itself

Dec. 10, 2014
Isabel Putinja

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An inno­v­a­tive European project has been study­ing ways to con­vert waste from olive oil pro­duc­tion into elec­tric­ity.

Biogas2PEM-FC is an EU-funded indus­trial research project coor­di­nated by PowerCell, a Swedish fuel cell tech­nol­ogy com­pany, and includes part­ners from Greece, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The project was launched in November 2012 and was com­pleted at the end of October 2014.

The liq­uid and solid waste which is left over from olive oil pro­duc­tion is harm­ful to the envi­ron­ment because it can con­tain pes­ti­cides as well as toxic organic com­pounds. It is also acidic and has a high salin­ity. Such agri­cul­tural waste is dif­fi­cult and expen­sive to dis­pose of prop­erly.

As part of the project, a pilot plant using a pro­to­type has been built on an olive farm and mill in Andalusia, Spain.

To achieve the goal of pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity, sev­eral tech­nolo­gies have been com­bined into a 3‑part sub­sys­tem which first requires an anaer­o­bic diges­tion reac­tion to pro­duce bio­gas from the waste, which is then con­verted to a hydro­gen-rich gas (refor­mate) using a reformer. Finally, a fuel cell sys­tem cre­ates elec­tric­ity from the refor­mate gas.

This envi­ron­ment-friendly solu­tion min­i­mizes neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal impact by solv­ing the waste prob­lem while pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity and heat which can be used on-site by the mill. The inno­v­a­tive tech­nol­ogy can also be used with other types of agri­cul­tural byprod­ucts.


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