The Sorigué Innovation Department has launched research, under the name of the ResActiv project, that seeks to develop a technology that transforms out-of-use tire waste and biostabilized material – waste not previously studied with new technologies –, into a new activated carbon filter. This new product would be able to adsorb bad odors, heavy metals, organic matter and emerging contaminants in the treatment of water and derivatives.
The ResActiv project seeks, on the one hand, to produce a high-added-value product for the water management sector within the circular economy. On the other hand, it is committed to reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill, giving a solution for waste whose material and energy could not be assessed up to this point.
The research is supported by the Core R&D Grants for Circular Economy projects offered by the Generalitat de Catalunya’sACCIÓ agency and is funded by theWaste Agency of Catalonia (ARC).
The project is structured into three stages: the first is research, where the optimal conditions are determined, both for the process and for raw material for the production of activated carbon. The second stage is the results check, which establishes the potential of the active carbon produced for the treatment of water and gases. For this purpose, a pilot will be conducted at one of the WWTPs managed by Sorigué. The last stage upscales the active carbon production process pilot and assesses the feasibility of its production on an industrial scale.
The three water treatment applications studied in the ResActiv project are: water purification, deodorization in WWTPs and at the refinement stage in tertiary treatment to promote water reuse.
The ResActiv project is fully developed by Sorigué. In its first stage, the group will be supported by the Carnot MICA Institute (France), whose specialty is the study of activated charcoal.
Active carbon and used tires
Activated charcoal is a high value-added product that, depending on the type and properties, can have a high economic value. Out of all of its applications, its use in water treatment remains the most prevalent. In 2015 alone, an estimated 40,000 tons were used in the United States and 60,000 tons in Europe in this area.
On the other hand, in Spain about 25 million tires are put into use per year (approximately 296,000 tons), about 40,000 of which are in Catalonia. Once this material falls out of use it is managed through two integrated systems: Signus Ecovalor and Treatment of Used Tires (TNU). Both entities are responsible for managing all out-of-use tire waste, and conduct their material and energy assessment. But given the low domestic market volume for tire granules – the main type of product extracted – supply far exceeds demand. There is no official data on the amount of granules stored waiting to find a way out on the market.
With regard to biostabilized material, there is currently no market outlet for this waste in Catalonia. It is estimated that 288,500 tons of biostabilized waste were produced in 2017 and ended up in landfills.