Ongoing projects 

PerFORM WATER2030 (05/2018-11/2020)

Funding: POR (Programma Operativo Regionale) FESR (Fondo Europeo di Sviluppo Regionale) 2014-2020 e della Call d’innovazione "Accordi per la Ricerca e l'Innovazione" di Regione Lombardia. 

PerFORM WATER 2030 is a living lab of strategic importance for the public water management sector. Innovative technologies and practices will promote a more efficient and sustainable future for Integrated urban water management. The project aims to support water utility managers so that they can act as key players and promoters of innovation in the water sector. The project will take place in various wastewater treatment plants managed by CAP Group in the Metropolitan City of Milan and it will focus on 4 main thematic areas, whose research activities will be supported by transversal implementation and dissemination actions (or further information, please refer to the specific web-page dedicated to project activities of PerFORM WATER 2030).

 

FlowerPowerproject - (06/2019-06/2021)
Energy and resource recovery from floriculture waste streams in the Pistoia area

Funding: Cassa di Risparmio Pistoia e Pescia.

The project aims at promoting technological advancement of local agriculture by improving economic and environmental sustainability. The AD is a bioprocess that takes place in dedicated reactors (digesters), applied to recover bioenergy as CH4 from waste and WW while reducing their pollution load. Co-digestion is the simultaneous feeding of a digester with more than one organic feedstock to boost biogas production: floriculture companies, plant nurseries, local associations and municipalities would be involved to valorize their green waste and turn it into economic and environmental advantages. FlowerPower focuses on evaluating: 1) the potential recovery of energy from waste and WW from the floricultural and agricultural sectors of the Pistoia province by means of AD process; 2) the reuse of WW from floriculture and olive oil mill into digesters and 3) the reuse of the solid and liquid fractions of the digestate (the AD residue) as fertilizers for floriculture and agriculture.

 

Biorg4WasteWaterVal+ - (01/05/2016 - 30/04/2019) 
Bioorganic novel approaches for food processing wastewater treatment and valorisation: lupanine case study

Funding: EU JPI Water 2015 Collaborative Project.

The general objective of the project is the development and validation of new technologies to be applied to food industry wastewater (in particular the case of lupin processing water will be studied), aimed at achieving the highest possible sustainability and closure of whole processes, detoxifying flows by converting them into products with high added value, maximizing water savings and recovering energy from residual fractions of liquid. The project is coordinated by the Lisbon Technical College and partners include the University of Cyprus, the University of Vienna and Polymat (Spanish Research Centre).

 

Il polo delle microalghe - (09/2016 - 09/2019) 
Le microalghe per il trattamento e la valorizzazione di reflui e sottoprodotti agrozootecnici e caseari -

Funding: Fondazione Cariplo, Bando Emblematico, Provincia di Cremona.

The project involves the construction of an open pond plant for the cultivation of microalgae, which will be supplied with CO2 from the exhaust gas from the turbine produced within the purification plant. The pond will be fed, in successive phases, with secondary effluent, the supernatant of sludge dehydration and a mixture of effluent and supernatant. In particular, the following will be analysed: removal efficiencies of nutrients and some micropollutants in anaerobic digestion, the effect on the presence of faecal bacteria, synergists/antagonisms algae/bacteria, ways of separating the algal biomass from the liquid phase. Once the necessary experimental data have been collected, the project will conclude with an LCA analysis to compare plant performance with/without microalgae treatment.

 

Projects completed 

IMAP - (06/2016 - 12/2018)
Integration of microalgal based processes in wastewater treatment (IMAP) 

Funding: Fondazione Cariplo - Bando Ricerca Scientifica - Inquinamento dell'acqua e corretta gestione della risorsa idrica.

The project involves the construction of an open pond plant for the cultivation of microalgae, which will be supplied with CO2 from the exhaust gas from the turbine produced within the purification plant. The pond will be fed, in successive phases, with secondary effluent, the supernatant of sludge dehydration and a mixture of effluent and supernatant. In particular, the following will be analysed: removal efficiencies of nutrients and some micropollutants in anaerobic digestion, the effect on the presence of faecal bacteria, synergists/antagonisms algae/bacteria, ways of separating the algal biomass from the liquid phase. Once the necessary experimental data have been collected, the project will conclude with an LCA analysis to compare plant performance with/without microalgae treatment.

 

MicroGate - (03/2015 - 03/2017)
Use of MICROalgae to mitiGATE nitrogen pollution form agricultural wastewater

Funding: Fondazione Cariplo (Bando Ricerca Scientifica - Ricerca sull'inquinamento dell'acqua e per una corretta gestione della risorsa idrica).

The project aims to verify the feasibility of microalgae to remove ammoniacal nitrogen from wastewater of agro-zootechnical origin and, in particular, from wastewater from anaerobic digestion plants. On digestates, solid/liquid separation techniques will be optimized to obtain fractions that are adequately clarified and suitable for the passage of light. Microalgae inoculations will be cultivated in the laboratory on this wastewater and the phytoplanktonic and microbiological community will be characterized from a biological point of view, in terms of speed of growth and metabolic state. The depurative yield of the nutrients will then be evaluated. The most suitable strains for treatment will be cultivated in an outdoor prototype tank, evaluating the process yield and the production of algal biomass. Finally, the solid/liquid separation for the collection of microalgae biomass will be optimized. 

 

LIDIA - (9/2015 - 8/2016)
Cluster Nazionale Chimica Verde

Funding: MIUR, PON, UE

As part of the extensive LIDIA project, the Fabbrica della Bioenergia research group is studying the pre-treatment of the residual co-products of the processes of valorisation of the second generation organic matrices in order to maximise their energy valorisation through anaerobic digestion. The effectiveness of pre-treatment is evaluated as increased yield in BMP and lignin component purification.

 

BIOREFILL - (01/09/2013 - 31/08/2015)
Biorefinery Integrated Lombardy Labs,

Funding: Fondazione Cariplo, Regione Lombardia.

Within the Biorefill project, Fabbrica della Bioenergia focused on the evaluation of pre-treatments to increase the BMP (Biochemical Methane Potential) from ligno-cellulosic waste (straw, stalks), optimizing the results already obtained previously. The aim of the project was also the training of a young researcher, Eng. Tommaso Lotti, who compared, through experimental and modelling methods, the effects of the application of an alkaline-enzymatic thermal treatment on food or digestate, with recirculation, considering both the specificity of the biomass and the expected fate of the digestate downstream of the biomethanisation phase.

 

BRAIN - (01/07/2010 - 30/06/2013)
Biotecnologie per la Riduzione dell'Azoto dai digestati con processi INnovativi e per promuovere la sostenibilità economica ed ambientale della produzione del biogas

Funding: MIPAAF (Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies)

The project aimed to test the applicability of advanced biological processes for the removal of nitrogen from the liquid fraction of the digestate of livestock manure. In particular, the processes tested were nitrification-denitrification (DENO2) and partial nitrification (PARNIT) + Anammox on laboratory and pilot plants, the latter located on a farm. Overall, the experiment confirmed the treatability of the liquid fraction of agro-zootechnical digestate (following separation by centrifuge) both through the DENO2 process and through the completely autotrophic PARNIT/ANAMMOX process. With more than 300 days of experimentation, the feasibility has been confirmed with nitrogen removal efficiencies between 80% and 90% while maintaining loads corresponding to 0.5 kgN/mreactor/day.

 

City-Wise-Net - (13/12/2013 - 30/09/2015)

Funding: Regione Lombardia POR-FESR 2007-2013 Smart Cities and Communities sector.

The general objective of this project was to optimise the waste treatment cycle (wastewater, sludge and FORSU for the recovery of energy and materials with the production of electricity, biomethane, fertilisers, bioplastics). More specifically, the Fabbrica research group's objective was to assess the treatability with anammox biomass of the liquid fraction of the FORSU digestate alone (organic fraction of municipal solid waste) or in co-digestion with sewage sludge. Batch tests of treatability at laboratory scale were carried out on both real wastewater sampled in 4 different digesters and tests with synthetic solutions. A method has been defined for measuring the treatability with anammox of wastewater of various origins. Tests have confirmed the treatability of such wastes despite a reduction of the maximum specific activity mainly linked to the high salinity of the wastes.

 

ECO-SI - (10/2011 - 03/2015)
Project Energy and valuable components from whey 
Funding: MIUR/Regione Lombardia e Fabbrica della Bioenergia.

The project has developed a prototype whey valorisation plant from Grana Padano, which includes the recovery of whey proteins by ultrafiltration and the production of hydrogen and biogas from permeate, by means of two reactors in series. In the first one dark fermentation and biohydrogen production take place, in the second one methanogenesis of residual volatile acids with biogas production takes place. The second is a biological membrane reactor (AnMBR). The project involved, in addition to the lead partner (SEAM Engineering), other industrial partners, including the dairy, where the pilot is installed and the Catholic University of Piacenza and Cremona. The production of hydrogen has been continuous but characterized by high variability. The membrane bioreactor fed with DF effluent reached efficiencies of more than 99% when the operating conditions were stable, thanks also to the membrane separation of the soluble COD components with dimensions greater than cut off, which are then retained in the reactor. The membrane, of the tubular polymer type, operated continuously with permeabilities between 50 and 75 LMH/bar and during the experiment, which lasted 382 days, there was no significant increase in fouling and consequent resistance to filtration.

 

Progetto INSIEME - Esperienze di tecnologie Energetiche Antiche e Future al Servizio della Sostenibilità (2012-2014)

Funding: Fondazione Cariplo

The project, coordinated by Italia Nostra in collaboration with Ass. Nocetum, Università Cattolica, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Università degli Studi di Milano (Orto Botanico), Università di Pavia, included a series of educational demonstration activities related to renewable energies such as Microbial Fuel Cell and Anaerobic Digestion. Fabbrica della bioenergia has collaborated by creating a small educational reactor demonstration of anaerobic digestion for the production of biogas and biomethane from the co-management of waste from the agro-industry with sewage sludge. The small 2L reactor was connected to a trap for washing the biogas and upgrading to biomethane that allowed the ignition of a flame. Demonstrative activities were carried out with the secondary and high schools of Milan.