Project Description

 it  en

Development of an integrated and sustainable system to produce bio-product: recycling of wastewater from OFMSW anaerobic digestion

Coordinator: Dr. Silvana Castelli


Many municipalities in Lombardy are delivering the urban waste directly to composting plants, which are combining composting with energy production by anaerobic digestion (AD). Nowadays, the liquid digestate generated from AD process is considered as hazardous waste and so addressed to remediation treatments with high cost and mineral elements loss.

Waste collection benefits can be optimized by using the waste fraction to produce energy and recover material (compost and mineral elements) to produce high valuable biomass. Importantly, the production of quality biomass from wastewater will match the European demand (Horizon 2020 ISIB-5-2014) to increase the use of biomass without increasing our dependency on external biomass or competing with food production or increasing environmental pressure (particularly on soil and land).

The purpose of the project is to develop an integrated biological system to purify wastewater originated by anaerobic digestion, based on duckweed ability to tolerate high nitrogen and phosphorous concentration. This project will lead to the isolation and characterization of duckweed strains showing good trait for phyto-depuration of the liquid fraction of digestate and, at the same time, able to generate biomass. In addition set up a system capable of purify the liquid digestate within the same site where it is originated, would be of considerable interest to both the civil and the industrial society.

Set up a sustainable system which is integrated with AD of  Organic Fraction of Solid Municipal Waste (OFSMW) generating the following advantages:

– to transform waste into renewable biomass

– to reduce OFSMW  treatment costs

– to improve system’s  overall performance

– to cut OFSMW management costs for municipalities hence reducing the impact on local taxation for citizens

With this project we would like to verify a new integrated production chain that could eliminate the very high cost treatment of liquid fraction from anaerobic digestion process and on the same time could produce new biomass as a source of bioproducts; the aim is to create a biorefinery model.

The project is based on modern and classical technologies.

The next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach will give transcriptomics data (RNA-seq analysis) relative to duckweed plants, in order to understand and increase the performances of the plants; the Illumina technology will be used to discover the microbial community associated to the rizosphere of this acquatic plant. The duckweed aviable germplasm collections will be analysed in order to detect the

Phenotypic screening of the the duckweed Biomass will be characterized in terms of composition, yield and potential byproduct source.