The members of LIFE-Comp0live Project have received at stand of the University of Jaén in EXPOLIVA, IberOleum 2023 Awards, for their involvement in achieving the valorisation of an olive by-product, such as pruning, for the development of applications at industrial level. The winners include Andaltec as the coordinating entity, Citoliva and Matricería Peña (Spain), Caliplast and Plasturgia (France) and Ford-Werke GmbH (Germany).
The award ceremony was attended by Rector of UJA, Juan Gómez Ortega, and director of IberOleum, Francisco García Mendoza, who highlighted the economic value generated for farmers and their contribution to the development of a more sustainable agricultural activity than if the olive pruning residues were burnt.
LIFE-Comp0live is an European R+D+i project which presents a circular economy proposal valorising an olive by-product that generates a large volume annually throughout the Mediterranean basin and with few applications at industrial level, as the olive pruning. In addition, at the UJA stand in EXPOLIVA, the novelties of this project have been discussed, where it should be noted that, when the previously treated olive pruning fibre is added to a polymeric matrix as reinforcement, a composite material is obtained with a significant improvement in its mechanical properties, allowing it to adjust to industrial requirements.
In this sense, three business models have been presented, using the innovative biocomposite developed for the manufacture of automotive components, urban furniture and home furniture. In this way, the aim is to raise awareness in the primary sector about the economic and ecological management of olive grove waste, promoting the circular economy, based on a new business model where farmers can benefit.
The researcher of the Department of Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering of the University of Jaén, member of INUO and responsible for the project on behalf of the UJA, María Dolores La Rubia, has shown prototypes for the automotive industry made with sustainable biocomposites composed of up to 40% of olive pruning remains. Among the pieces developed by the LIFE-Comp0live Project, the footrest of the automatic car and the boot trim for the Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo models have been highlighted. In addition, María Dolores La Rubia, has stated that “this project is demonstrating the technical feasibility of incorporating olive pruning as reinforcement of polymeric matrices for industrial applications with high added value, boosting the circular economy in the olive sector“.