Environment segment - Overview
The chapter includes ACEA Elabori, for the project Smart Comp; the activities of the waste treatment hub, waste-to-energy plants and compost production plants, all within Acea Ambiente; and the activities of Aquaser and Acque Industriali. In 2021, the Company Bio Ecologia merged by incorporation into Acea Ambiente, bringing the plant of the same name. The companies Berg and Demap were also added.
Acea is expanding its capabilities in management of the final part of the waste cycle, for optimised recovery, recycling and reuse and, where possible, recovery of energy. Specifically, it oversees:
- the treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW) and other types of waste (like green waste from separate collection, industrial waste, etc.), for the recovery of material and disposal of the residues in landfills
- storage, selection, sorting and separation of multi-material waste originating from separate waste collection, such as plastic material and metal packaging, for subsequent recovery
- the treatment of liquid wastes such as leachates and liquid sludge;
- incineration with energy recovery and consequent reduction in land required for disposal
- the production of high quality compost for agricultural
The management of solid and liquid waste is performed using advanced technology and modern systems, upgraded or expanded in recent years, in order to improve and renew processes and increase recovery of materials and/or energy. The Companies operating in waste management carry out research, also in collaboration and partnerships with university institutions and companies in the circular-economy field. Included in this context is the Acea Smart Comp local composting activity carried out by Acea Elabori.
During 2021, Acea Elabori continued, in collaboration with Tuscia University and Enea, the Acea Smart Comp Project, which goes beyond the logic of waste transition and proposes a new model for managing organic waste, from large plants to local waste management. This project enabled the Company to become organic waste free during 2020 and to patent the control system for electric composters, that will be industrialised. During the third quar- ter of 2021, experiments for Acea Smart Comp were completed at the Auchan locations of Villars in Lyon and Sain Priest, both in France, with the intention of establishing the plants in the mass-retail industry. Activity for the project, overseen by the Acea Elabori team, saw the involvement of collaborators from outside the Group, through cross-disciplinary working tables aimed at technological development and remote control, refinement of the process model and further distribution of the product. Experiments with the Acea Smart Comp solution were successfully completed at the barracks for the Carabinieri Salvo d’Acquisto in Rome and the process of moving from the experimental stage to normal operations has begun.
At the Ecomondo event, Acea Ambiente presented the new Gasiforming technology, developed in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano University and the Inter-university Consortium for Materials Science and Technology (INSTM). This patented system is designed to transform a mix of non-recyclable plastics into green fuels (see the info. box on Ecomondo, in the chapter Environmental sustainability and the primary challenges).
The following paragraphs provide further details of operational as- pects of activities in the circular-economy field.