Reusing waste from the oil industry will be possible thanks to the European project LIFE CYCLOPS

  • The LIFE CYCLOPS project, co-funded by the European Commission’s LIFE Programme, will validate a new process for recovering polyphenols from waste, thus promoting the circular economy.
  • Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, leads this initiative, in which Aquateca company of the Agbar groupBorges Agricultural & Industrial Edible Oils, the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSI), Unió  Origen and Unió Nuts also participate.

In some Mediterranean countries, olive oil production is one of the most important industrial activities and has increased considerably in recent years. In the process of making olive oil, different residues are generated  which, due to its composition, are  polluting, so its management and storage are complex.  There are currently different options for this purpose, but its low processing capacity and  lack of circularity point to the need for an improved management model.


A sustainable and economical solution to recover waste from the oil industry.

In this context, the LIFE CYCLOPS project, which has recently started its activity, aims to technically and economically demonstrate a sustainable technology  to  recover and recover polyphenols from the waste of the olive oil industry.  This solution offers a circular economy and zero waste model  to take advantage of these surpluses and turn them into high value-added products for other industries.


In addition, the project will not only focus on polyphenols, but on the integral management of waste from the oil industry. Beyond the reuse of these by-products, it will seek  to produce biogas and digestate, a residual material that is generated from anaerobic digestion,  for use as compost in agriculture. Likewise, the  transferability of the LIFE CYCLOPS solution to the wine industry will be carried out.


LIFE CYCLOPS will test its technology in two  different locations.

The LIFE CYCLOPS solution will be validated on a pilot scale at the facilities of the company Borges Agricultural & Industrial Edible Oils, hereinafter BAIEO, leaders in the industrial processing, packaging and marketing of olive oils  and seeds, and vinegars among other Mediterranean foods.   With the application of technology on a large scale, it will be possible to treat 100% of the alperujo generated in the facilities  of the oil mill that BAIEO has in CabraCorrdoba, in order to revalue the by-products generated during the extraction of olive oil.  Next, the pilot plant will move to Unió Origen, an operational partner of the wine industry.  At the end of the  project, it is planned to implement the solution in 5 facilities of the oil industry and 8 wine facilities.  This represents the production of 41.8 tons per year  of polyphenols, a value-added product for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries, and the production of 57. 800 and 42. 400 tonnes per year of phenolized alperujo  and wine residues, suitable for co-digestion in waste water stations.


The LIFE CYCLOPS consortium, led by Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, has the participation  of Aquatec,  a company of the Agbar group that will provide the technology;  the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) ―through the Institute of Catalysis and Petroleochemistry― which will focus on the purification and characterization processes of polyphenols and BAIEO, in whose facilities the pilot plants, Unió Origen and Unió Nuts will be located.