Two-year agreement between the two Lombard public companies for the development of a circular economy pilot project that will use up to 100 tons of food waste fats per year to produce thermal and electrical energy and power the Robecco sul Naviglio plant. Presentation scheduled for the Milan Design Week
Food waste becomes bioenergy to power the Robecco sul Naviglio treatment plant. Milano Restauration, a subsidiary company of the Municipality of Milan which since 2001 has provided the catering service to nurseries, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and to facilities serving the elderly, and the CAP Group, manager of the integrated water service of the Municipalities of the Metropolitan city of Milan, have given life to an agreement with a view to circular economy to enhance the waste fats of the meal production center in via Sammartini in Milan, to be converted, thanks to the use of anaerobic biodigesters, into electrical and thermal energy, useful to feed the processes and activities of the plant that serves the citizens of the upper Milan area.
The Museum of Science and Technology of Milan, the largest technical-scientific exhibition hub in Italy, from 4 to 12 September will be the ideal setting in which to present the synergy between the two public realities, right in the days of Milan Design Week, at inside the space dedicated to the CAP Group during the re-Food Market initiative, organized in the Last Supper room.
“The agreement with Milano Restauration is one of the projects of our Green New Deal, with which we intend to contribute to the sustainable development of the Lombardy region in the name of decarbonisation and ecological transition – explains Alessandro Russo, president and CEO of the CAP Group-. With this in mind, agri-food waste will allow us to transform our purifiers into biorefineries, where we can produce biogas and biomethane. We manage 40 purifiers that thanks to industrial synergies such as these are becoming green factories, where the recovery of treated water for use in agriculture rhymes with clean energy produced by waste, but also with cellulose, sands, phosphorus and nitrogen, by-products of the purification process. converted into raw materials to be reused in production “.
The two-year pilot project stems from the common interest of the two companies to deepen the development and application of processes and technologies in the energy and environmental fields, with particular attention to the valorisation of waste of agri-food origin, in order to to increase integration and industrial symbiosis between local urban infrastructures and accelerate the circular conversion policies envisaged in the city of Milan and in the Milan area.
“Our mission is to give the girls and boys of the Milanese schools a“ healthy, good, educational and fair ”meal – says Bernardo Notarangelo, President of Milano Restauration -. Today, and increasingly, this means promoting the values of sustainability of the food system and the fight against waste, two key principles of the Milan Food Policy of which the agreement with CAP, which we hope to extend, is a further example. of concrete realization “.
Every month, about 10 tons of waste fats, in liquid form, coming from the preparation of meals are removed from the Milan cooking center in via Sammartini. Once arrived at the Robecco sul Naviglio purification plant, the waste becomes biogas through the fermentation process typical of anaerobic biodigesters, which in purification plants are used to transform the purification sludge into energy.
The project was validated by the Politecnico di Milano which, on behalf of CAP, tested the type of fats used in the preliminary phase, certifying their degree of biodegradability and therefore their suitability to be treated in biodigesters. To close the circle, every six months the water utility will provide a Carbon Footprint of the activities and processes, estimating the energy produced and the CO2 saved, in order to identify the benefits of the operation in terms of circular economy.
After the experimentation phase that will lead to Robecco up to 100 tons of waste material per year, the idea for the future is to increase the quantities, or even to integrate additional types of waste from the various meal production centers in Milan. Catering. A challenge in line with the Food Policy strategies defined by the Municipality of Milan with Expo 2015 to make the Milan food system more equitable and sustainable, and which perfectly matches the sustainability objectives that Gruppo CAP, a company that has has been operating in the Milan area for years and has been implementing it for years.
In order to transform the purifiers into integrated platforms for the circular economy, also in San Giuliano Milanese, Sesto San Giovanni, Bareggio, Canegrate, Rozzano and Pero, biogas and biomethane production activities with low environmental impact have been started up which use organic waste, coming from the agro-food industry of the Milanese hinterland. The genesis lies in the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of 2019 by the Metropolitan City of Milan, the authorization body of the plants, and the CAP Group which, according to a study carried out by the Kyoto Club, using the anaerobic biodigesters already present in the purifiers, can convert into clean energy 107 tons of organic waste, feeding up to 39,000 vehicles, company vehicles and public transport: 2.5 times the number of methane-fueled cars in circulation in the metropolitan city of Milan.