Demonstrate the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of SOLIEVA technology for the recovery of compounds and forced evaporation

Currently, wastewater from the table olive industry is composed of NaOH, salt and organic matter and accumulates in evaporation ponds, which leads to a loss of water and usable resources, occupation of the land and a high risk of contamination due to spills or overflows of the ponds. The proposed solution is based on the recovery of resources and the zero liquid discharge scheme (ZLD) that reduce the occupation of the ponds in the land, raise the rate of natural evaporation and move towards circular economy systems. The project will demonstrate a technology capable of recovering water, salt, NaOH and polyphenols, an organic compound with high added value that can be used in the food industry.

The main objective of the LIFE SOLIEVA project is to demonstrate the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of the organic compound recovery (OCR) technology based on membrane filtration, vacuum concentrator and spray drying, combined with advanced solar evaporation (ASE), to face the environmental challenges of the table olive sector in the treatment of its process waters and update the environmental legislation related to the use of water.

The specific objectives of the project are the following:

  1. Demonstrate, on a pilot plant scale, the feasibility of:

    1. A recovery system based on membrane filtration, vacuum concentration and spray drying for an OCR of 50% (polyphenols, in the specific case of the project) and effluents rich in NaOH and salts that will be reused in the process of making the table olives (Directive 2000/60/EC).
    2. ASE technology that will maximize the evaporation rate up to 2 m3/m2 year of brines obtained from the OCR process and achieve ZLD by reducing the environmental challenges of the wastewater collection ponds of the table olive industry.

  2. Improve the efficiency of the resources of the sector with the reduction in water consumption and the generation of wastewater as well as the reuse of salt and caustic soda in the production of table olives and in the market.

  3. Define the recovery pathways of the polyphenols recovered in the process for the formulation of functional foods.

  4. The environmental, social and economic evaluation based on the adoption of the SOLIEVA technology and definition of the necessary steps to replicate and transfer the solution to all the producing regions of table olives (Spain, Greece and Italy) in the EU and in other sectors agri-food.

  5. Determine the parameters to optimize the performance and expand the SOLIEVA technology on a real scale as well as define a business plan to introduce the SOLIEVA solution in the market and to reach the potential market.

  6. Use the results in order to provide recommendations for the updating of wastewater treatment legislation.