The impact of this project is not less, considering that Chile is a major actor in the forest and paper industry in the region, which implies the existence of large amounts of waste, said Fernando Márquez.
The academician acknowledged that while the use of biomass waste for power generation is “a big step, there is still a large volume of residues that are not used, recycled, or valued”. Thus, UdeC and UDT, he added, have been working with the forest industry, looking for methods to make some use of these residues.
Studies on a national paper company indicate that for every ton produced, 75 kilos of sludge (from liquid effluent treatment plants) and 55 kilos of ashes (resulting from steam generation using biomass boilers) are generated.
These two residues were the focus of attention of the project that technically and economically evaluated various products to add value to both residues. So, manures, asphalt layers, materials for soil stabilization in road construction, chip and sludge boards, and plaster and sludge panels were manufactured.
The best results were achieved with the manure produced based on ashes and sludge, which showed significant contributions of nutrients to the soil, such as phosphorus, potassium and calcium, and in pine and sludge chipboards with better tensile strength and less swelling in relation to the traditional ones.
And while not all products are displayed as an alternative of immediate productive development, Dr. Marquez expressed his satisfaction for the achievements of the project. “We were able to generate the reuse of ashes and sludge, with a utility and recovery that allows the company to lower costs and reduce the environmental impact, which is good news for the region and the country,” he said.
The Environment SEREMI, Marianne Hermanns, and the representative of CORFO, Cristian Lama, who highlighted research projections around innovation and development to a better waste management, attended the event.