The University of Minho leads a European project to promote the recovery of organic waste through the production of a compound rich in humic substances that are formed from the chemical and biological decomposition of these wastes. The aim is to reduce the amount of waste landfill in the transboundary region of Northern Portugal and Galicia, focusing on composting as a management tool. The project “Valorization of Organic Waste: Production of Humic Substances” (Res2ValHum) was one of the projects approved in the Interreg V-A Spain-Portugal Program being financed by the European Union with an amount of more than 2.1 million euros.
The organic waste produced in the region will be characterized and the compound obtained will be optimized with respect to its humic substances content. The chemical profile and biological activity of the compound will be evaluated. This type of waste is distinguished by being “rich in humic acids”, which increases its water retention capacity and its fertilizing action, and can be reused for the treatment of agricultural soils, and in the design of cosmetics and nutraceuticals (nutritional supplement with therapeutic value).
“This new bet opens doors for the emergence of new areas of business and employment related to the design of high added value articles and contributing to the development of the green economy in this space of cooperation,” explains Fernanda Proença, a researcher at the Center for Chemistry of UMinho responsible for the project. It is also intended to increase the quantity and quality of the compound produced, not only by the partner institutions of the project, but also by other entities of this region.
Approved under the Spain-Portugal cooperation program, this project runs until 2020 and counts on the partnership of the Centro para a Valorização de Resíduos, da Lipor – Serviço Intermunicipalizado de Gestão de Resíduos do Grande Porto, the Braval – Valorização e Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos and, on the Spanish side, the Sociedade Galega do Meio Ambiente, the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela and the Centro de Valorización Ambiental del Norte.