New approaches for the valorisation of URBAN bulky waste into high added value RECycled products

URBANREC project aims to develop and implement an eco-innovative and integral bulky waste management system (enhancing prevention, improving logistics and allowing new waste treatments to obtain high added value recycled products) and demonstrate its effectiveness in different regions.

In URBANREC project, Northern, Mediterranean, Eastern and South-eastern areas in Europe are represented by Belgium, Spain, Poland and Turkey, which have very different urban waste recycling rates, from around a 60% in Belgium, 25-30% in Spain, or 20% in Poland, to less than 5% in Turkey.

URBANREC project aims to improve the separation and disassembling of bulky waste – implementing advanced fragmentation techniques to obtain high quality raw materials, promoting innovative valorisation routes for those considered more problematic (PUR foam, mixed hard plastics and mixed textiles), not recycled due to lack of eco-innovative cost-effective solutions.

The waste treatments considered in the project include i) rebonding and chemical glycolisis for the PUR materials, to prepare renewable adhesives, ii) needle felt to obtain isolation panels from textiles, iii) fibre reinforced composites from textiles, iv) wood Plastic composites (WPC) and v) catalytic hydro-gasification with plasma for mixed hard plastics to obtain chemicals or fuel. These treatments will be optimized and implemented at industrial level thanks to the collaboration of the URBANREC partners: top Research Institutes at EU level, and companies interested in obtaining novel eco-friendly products from waste, under a circular economy approach.

All relevant actors in the waste management chain in every country have been also involved as project partners (local authorities and city amenity sites in Belgium, Spain, Poland and Turkey) guaranteeing the implementation of the proposed solutions at local level, adapting them to suit the particular characteristics of each area, ensuring the replication at EU level.



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¡Viable and Alternative Mine Operating System!

Estimates indicate that the value of unexploited European mineral resources at a depth of 500-1,000 metres is ca €100 billion, however, a number of physical, economic, social, environmental and human constraints have as yet limited their exploitation.

¡VAMOS! will provide a new Safe, Clean and Low Visibility Mining Technique and will prove its Economic Viability for extracting currently unreachable mineral deposits, thus encouraging investment and helping to put the EU back on a level playing field in terms of access to strategically important minerals. Deriving from successful deep-sea mining techniques, the ¡VAMOS! mining solution aspires to lead to: Re-opening abandoned mines; Extensions of opencut mines which are limited by stripping ratio, hydrological or geotechnical problems; and opening of new mines in the EU.

¡VAMOS! will design and manufacture innovative automated excavation equipment and environmental impact monitoring tools that will be used to perform field tests in a number of mine sites across Europe with a range of rock hardness and pit morphology. VAMOS will:

1. Develop a prototype underwater, remotely controlled, mining machine with associated launch and recovery equipment

2.Enhance currently available underwater sensing, spatial awareness, navigational and positioning technology

3.Provide an integrated solution for efficient Real-time Monitoring of Environmental Impact

4.Conduct field trials with the prototype equipment in abandoned and inactive mine sites with a range of rock types and at a range of submerged depths

5.Evaluate the productivity and and cost of operation to enable mine-ability and economic reassessment of the EU’s mineral resources.

6.Maximize impact and enable the Market Up-Take of the proposed solutions by defining and overcoming the practicalities of the concept, proving the operational feasibility and the economic viability.

7.Contribute to the social acceptance of the new extraction technique via public demonstrations in EU regions.




The overall objective of WADI project is to contribute to the reduction of losses in water transmission systems and decrease the related energy consumption required for the process.

WADI aims to develop an airborne water leak detection surveillance service to provide water utilities with adequate information on leaks in water infrastructure outside urban areas, thus enabling the utility to promptly repair them.

The project idea relies on innovative concept of coupling optical remote sensing and their application on two complementary aerial platforms, i.e. manned and unmanned, typically used for distinctive purposes in infrastructure performance observation. The former is being used in long-distance monitoring whereas the latter in ‘particular’ areas observation, i.e. those with a limited/difficult physical access or requiring closer monitoring upon earlier detection of some anomalies in aircraft missions. Following the determination of cameras’ optimized wavelengths (suitable particularly for water leaks detection), the WADI technology will be applied in an operational environment represented by two pilot sites, i.e. in France (Provence region, case of water supply mains) and Portugal (Alqueva, case of multi-purpose mains serving irrigation, water supply, and hydro power).

The WADI proposal addresses the challenge of building a water (and energy) efficient and climate change resilient society by integrating the concept of ecosystem services through the recovery of up to 50% of the water lost at a cost which is lower by an order of magnitude than the cost of  terrestrial techniques – e.g. 50-200 EUR/km for airborne technology vs. 1,000-5,000 EUR/km for ground techniques.

The project includes legal aspects assessment (related to data protection and regulatory standards for use of UAV), market analysis and strategy along with the corresponding business plan and a dissemination plan that addresses key stakeholders.



Water – Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies

The WHO estimates that in 2015 in Africa ~156 million people relied on untreated sources for their drinking water. WATERSPOUTT will design, develop, pilot and field-test a range of,  sustainable point-of-use solar disinfection (SODIS) technologies that will provide affordable access to safe water to remote and vulnerable communities in Africa and elsewhere.

These novel large-volume water treatment SODIS technologies will be developed in collaboration and consultation with the end-users, and include:

  1. HARVESTED RAINWATER SODIS SYSTEMS for domestic and community use. (South Africa, Uganda).

These are novel technologies that will create employment and economic benefits for citizens in both the EU and resource-poor nations. WATERSPOUTT will use social science strategies to:

  1. Build integrated understanding of the social, political & economic context of water use & needs of specific communities.
  2. Examine the effect of gender relations on uptake of SODIS technologies.
  3. Explore the relevant governance practices and decision-making capacity at local, national and international level that impact upon the use of integrated solar technologies for point-of-use drinking water treatment.
  4. Determine the feasibility & challenges faced at household, community, regional and national level for the adoption of integrated solar technologies for point-of-use drinking water treatment.

WATERSPOUTT will transform access to safe drinking water through integrated social sciences, education & solar technologies, thus improving health, survival, societal well-being & economic growth in African developing countries. These goals will be achieved by completing health impact studies of these technologies among end-user communities in Africa.  Many of the consortium team have worked for more than 15 years on SODIS research in collaboration with African partners.



Urban strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities

Europe’s cities are some of the world’s greatest tourism destinations. The socio-economic impact of tourism is extraordinary and urban tourism, but it brings at the same time a range of negative externalities, including high levels of unsustainable resource consumption and waste production.

In comparison with other cities, tourist cities have to face additional challenges related to waste prevention and management due to their geographical and climatic conditions, the seasonality of tourism flow and the specificity of tourism industry and of tourists as waste producers.

UrBAN-WASTE will support policy makers in answering these challenges and in developing strategies that aim at reducing the amount of municipal waste production and at further support the re-use, recycle, collection and disposal of waste in tourist cities. In doing so UrBAN-WASTE will adopt and apply the urban metabolism approach to support the switch to a circular model where waste is considered as resource and reintegrated in the urban flow.

UrBAN-WASTE will perform a metabolic analysis of the state of art of urban metabolism in 11 pilot cities. In parallel a participatory process involving all the relevant stakeholders will be set up through a mobilization and mutual learning action plan. These inputs will be integrated in the strategies along with a review of the most innovative existing technologies and practices in the field of waste management and prevention. The strategies will then be implemented in the 11 cities and the results will be monitored and disseminated facilitating the transfer and adaptation of the project outcomes in other cases.



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Integrated aquaculture based on sustainable water recirculating system for the Victoria Lake Basin (VicInAqua)

VicInAqua will follow an integrated approach in order to develop a sustainable combined sanitation and  recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for wastewater treatment and reuse in agriculture in the Victoria Lake Basin area.

In this decentralized integrated treatment system wastewater from households and fish processing industry as well as RAS production water will radically reduce stress on the sensitive ecosystems of the Lake Victoria and will contribute to food and health security. It will be operated fully autonomous powered by renewable energies (PV, biogas). The RAS will particularly produce high quality fingerlings of the local fish species to supply the pond aquaculture of the area with stocking material. The innovative core idea of the project is to develop and test new technologies which enable the integration of sanitation with the aquaculture in a sustainable manner. The core of the project concept is to develop and test a novel self-cleaning water filters which consist of a highly efficient particle filter as well as a membrane bioreactor (MBR) as principal treatment unit within a combined treatment system where the nutrient rich effluent water will be used for agricultural irrigation. the surplus sludge from both filter systems will be co-digested with agricultural waste and local water hyacinth to produce biogas. The overall concept will promote sound approaches to water management for agriculture, taking into consideration broader socio-economic factors and also fomenting job creation and greater gender balance in decision-making. The pursued approach will be perfectly in line with the strategic guidelines of the Rio\20 and the post-2015 development framework.



Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems

The main objective of this project is to move forward the current waste management practices into a circular economy motto, demonstrating the value of integrating and validating a set of 20 eco-innovative solutions that cover all the waste value chain.

The benefits of these solutions will be enhanced by a holistic waste data management methodology and will be demonstrated in 4 complementary urban areas in Europe.

The eco-innovative solutions include technological and non-technological tools such as: a) IT tools to support the daily operation and long-term planning, b) Apps for citizens empowerment and engagement, c) Educational materials based on innovative teaching units and serious games, d) Tools for citizen science for the co-creation of novel solutions, e) Mechanisms to boost behavioral changes based on economic instruments and social actions, and f) Decentralized solutions for valorization and reuse of high value resources.

The different solutions will be implemented in 4 complementary European areas: a) Zamudio (ES) is a highly industrialized area with a spread population that uses a separated kerbside collection; b) Halandri (GR) is a large suburban city with a wide range of business that has a very basic waste management system; c) Seveso (IT) is a residential town that uses a door-to-door system; d) and Cascais (PT) is an extensive and high touristic coastal town that implements an advanced collection system.

The project includes a consortium of 19 partners with 4 public agencies and administrations, 3 research centers and universities, 8 SMEs, 2 LEs, 1 cluster and 1 NGO, that will work together during 36 months with an overall contribution from the EC of €9M.The most relevant expected impacts are: a 20% increase in waste sorting, 10% saving of management costs, and 10% reduction of GHG emissions. The experience gained, and the synergies among the partners describe the best possible scenario to launch new governance and business models.



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