The BETA TC presents several success stories to improve water management in the agri-food sector

It was held as part of the virtual conference "Water management in agri-food companies in a context of drought emergency", organised by the Catalan Water Cluster.

The BETA Technology Centre of the UVic-UCC presented this week several innovative solutions to improve water management in the agri-food sector. It did so in the framework of the virtual conference “Water management in agri-food companies in a context of drought emergency”, organized jointly by the Catalan Water Partnership and the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The aim of the conference, which was attended by 260 people, was to provide updated information on the current situation and to present some success stories in the application of different technologies aimed at achieving more efficient water management in agri-food companies.

The intervention of Sergio Ponsá, director of CT BETA, focused on water recovery and reuse strategies in the meat industry, which include a large part of the work carried out so far thanks to the “REAQUA” project, an operational group with the participation of several relevant companies in the meat sector. REAQUA is serving to evaluate the technical, economic and regulatory limitations of water reuse strategies in slaughterhouses. This knowledge will be translated into a future technical guide, which will provide information on the technologies available for water treatment and recovery, as well as their associated costs.

Another outstanding example is the pilot plant that has been installed at the MAFRICA slaughterhouse in the framework of the European “AccelWater” project. This pilot plant is located next to the company’s existing wastewater treatment plant, and consists of two treatment lines: a first line processes the wastewater to recover high-quality water with the potential to be reused in the industrial facility itself and a liquid product concentrated in nutrients with the potential to be used in agriculture. The second line is the recovery of solid waste, with the aim of recovering energy and producing high value-added products, such as biofertilisers and biostimulants.

This type of workshop has multiplied in recent months due to the current context of unprecedented drought in Catalonia, which makes it increasingly urgent to adopt water-saving measures in all sectors of society, especially in those that, in some cases, must make intensive use of water. Overall, the presentation of the success stories served to demonstrate that the agri-food sector can have new consolidated or emerging treatment options for its waste effluents. These innovative solutions make it possible to meet the requirements set by the administration for their use without posing a risk to either human health or the environment.