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In the spotlight

The project ECORKWASTE (Integrated and sustainable management of cork waste generated in the cork industry) LIFE14 ENV/ES/460 was approved in the second half of 2015, under the Framework Programme of the LIFE program, which is a financing instrument for supporting projects focused on Environment and Resource Efficiency project application, and will be implemented from September 2015 to December 2018.

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The main goal of ECORKWASTE is the demonstration of the technical, environmental and economical feasibility of cork waste valorisation, according to the cork waste particle size. Cork waste with certain particle size will be used as absorbent material in wetlands, for the elimination of organic compounds in a wine industry wastewater treatment system. Other cork waste such as the used cork stoppers, cork waste that has reached to silting in the absorption process in wetlands and cork powder, will be used as substrate for energetic valorisation in a gasification process.

ECORKWASTE takes into account the waste management priorities established by the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/CE and also the waste management aims for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th  Environmental Action Program. Besides, main targets of Directive 1999/31/CE about biowaste disposal in landfills are also tackled.

The specific objectives are:

1. To minimize landfilling of cork waste by means of turning waste into value. ECORKWASTE focus on designing ways to prevent, reuse and valorize cork waste, as prioritized in Directive 2008/98/EC.

2. To demonstrate at pilot scale the feasibility of an innovative hybrid constructed wetland system based on the use of cork wastes, as granular media, for the treatment and reclamation of agroindustrial wastewater (winery wastewaters). The wetland plants will eliminate BDO5  and the cork waste will absorb the recalcitrant organic compounds (polyphenols) of the wastewater

3. To demonstrate at pilot scale, the use of cork waste as adequate substrate for syngas production by gasification in fluidised bed.

4. To reduce the energy consumption in the cork industry by the generation of electricity from a gasification process. This will contribute to the implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC.

5. To reduce water consumption in winery industry fostering its potential re-use within the production system, while achieving higher effluent quality due to wetlands implementation (Directive 2008/105/EC).

6. To compare the innovative and sustainable wetland and gasification systems against alternative current practices using the same indicators.

7. To disseminate ECORKWASTE results for the reproducibility, marketability and maximum application of ECORKWASTE technology to other European experiences.

 Actions and means involved:

1. A thorough evaluation of the different policies and legislation affecting waste management, wastewater treatment and energetic valorization will be developed by UPC during ECORKWASTE project execution (A1).

2. A detailed characterisation of cork waste will be performed at the analytical facilities of the provider, ICSURO (A1). Other data about regional representative cork factories will also be provided by them.

3. A detailed characterisation and data collection of several wine industry wastewaters, specifically of Codorniu wastewaters, will be performed at the CTM laboratory (B1).

4. Cork waste adsorption studies (batch and column) of selected contaminants will be performed to design the wetlands (B1). Analysis will be performed at ICSURO facilities.

5. One small prototype and a pilot wetland system will be designed and constructed at a Codorniu facility. The small prototype and the wetland system will be operated almost during 1 year (B1, B3). UPC will be the responsible for this action, supported by TYPSA.

6. One gasification system will be designed, constructed and operated at the CTM facilities (B2, B4). TYPSA will be the responsible for this action.

7. Determining both the amount and quality of syngas generated, as well as tar and ashes produced from the gasification pilot process, in order to evaluate the overall gasification performance (B4). TYPSA will be the responsible for this action.

8. Several environmental and economic indicators based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost (LCC) methodologies will be used to evaluate the sustainability of the technology and their extrapolation feasibility (B2, C1). CTM

9. Monitoring the technical, environmental and socio-economic impact of the proposed technologies (C1 and C2) CTM will be the responsible for this action.

10. Dissemination campaign including the environmental problem targeted and the main objectives and results of the project to the general public, stakeholders and target groups. Several means will be used such as a project website, a Layman’s report, leaflets, social networks, open days, scientific conferences and journals, among others (D actions). INNOVI will be responsible for this action.

11. A project management structure will be appointed in order to assure a correct implementation of the actions and contact and reporting to the Commission (E actions). UPC will be the responsible for this action.

More info:



21/01/16 – Energías Renovables


19/01/16 – Sala premsa UPC


21/12/15 – iagua


21/12/15 – EFE VERDE


14/12/15 – Residuos Profesional


10/12/15 – ABC Newspaper


10/12/15 – Aldia.cat




Provides technology and solutions which minimize the environmental impact of civil works. Leer Más...
TYPSA is a group of independent consulting engineering firms working as one in civil engineering, architecture, building technology, energy and the environment. TYPSA Group has always participated in the development of all types of infrastructure and facilities across both Spanish and international markets since its inception in 1966, contributing to better living conditions the world over.

Is the cluster of Catalan wine industry and is a non-profit organisation registered as a AEI (Innovative Business Association), by Ministry of Industry. The goal of INNOVI is to promote the competitiveness of companies in the wine industry and auxiliar sector to deal favorably globalisation through innovation. Leer Más...
The vision of the INNOVI is the consolidation of the wine region of Catalonia as a leader in innovation and quality overall. The aims of the AEI INNOVI are: - Establish strategically plans for developing the future of the wine industry. - Define policies and actions of common interest to companies and organisations affiliated. - Promote cooperation and meetings to creation synergies between companies and affiliated entites. - Encourage innovation in member companies. - Promote the exchange of scientific and technical klnowledge between researchers at universities and technological centers. - Advising companies on opportunities for innovation and cooperative projectes. - Establish strategic partnerships with other leading economies in the sector, international institucions,... - Promote trainings at all levels (universities, vocational training, continuing education, seminars...).

Institut Catala del Suro CCT
Was created in 1991 by the Catalan Government to organise the strategies of the cork sector through guided lines of action that emphasise making the most of competitive advantages that already existed of quality, image, at a technological scale, etc. Leer Más...
Actually, ICSURO is participating in various development projects focused on search new applications for cork wastes. The main objective is increase the re-value of this material for improve the forestry management and help to preserve the cork oak forests.

Is a non-profit private foundation. Its aim is to efficiently contribute to improve the competitiveness and the technological development of companies by providing specialised services and carrying out R&D and Innovation projects Leer Más...
The team at CTM works for companies, organisations and institutions in the fields of: environmental technology; materials technology; energy; simulation and innovative design and forming processes. When carrying out projects together with companies, CTM Centre Tecnològic also actively searches, for project financing either Nationally or at European level and orientates customers in the different tax reductions related to R&D Innovation projects which can be applied.

Cátedra UNESCO de Sostenibilitat de la UPC - UNESCO Chair on Sustainability from the Polytechnical University of Catalonia Leer Más...
The UNESCO Chair on Sustainability was established at the Technical University of Catalonia in 1996, with the purpose to develop an integrated system of research, education and documentation activities focused mainly on analysing the relationship between sustainability, technology and humanism.

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Dr. Joan de Pablo Ribas
Telf. : 93 4016557
e-mail. joan.de.pablo@upc.edu
Dr. Jordi Morató
Càtedra UNESCO de Sostenibilitat
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
EET- Campus Terrassa
C/Colom, 1
Barcelona (SPAIN)
Telf. : 937398660 – 616287243
Fax : 93 739 80 32
e-mail. jordi.morato@upc.edu
  • Funder
    LIFE 14 ENV/ES/460
  • Scope of project
    Integrated and sustainable management of cork waste generated in the cork industry
  • Completion date
  • Principal data
    LIFE EU Project. Parters: UPC, Fundació CTM, Institut Català del Suro, INNOVI, Técnica y Proyectos SA.
  • Initial budget
    1,903,898 €
  • Location
    Sant Sadurní d'Ainoa, Barcelona

About the Program

The main goal of ECORKWASTE is the demonstration of the technical, environmental and economical feasibility of cork waste valorisation, according to the cork waste particle size.

UNESCO Chair on Sustainability