The headquarters of Andaltec Technology Centre in Martos (Jaén) has hosted the final Workshop of the European project ‘LIFE COMP0LIVE’ whose aim is to revalue olive pruning waste to obtain materials that serve as a basis for the manufacture of more sustainable plastic components in the automotive world. This project has been financed by the European Commission, through the LIFE programme, and is made up of Andaltec, the University Institute of Research on Olive Grove and Olive Oils (INUO) of the University of Jaén, Citoliva and Matricería Peña (Spain), Caliplast and Plasturgia (France) and Ford-Werke GmbH (Germany).

This scientific event was inaugurated by the Mayor of Martos, Emilio Torres, the President of the Provincial Council of Jaén, Francisco Reyes, the Government Delegate of the Andalusian Regional Government in Jaén, Jesús Estrella, and the manager of Andaltec Technology Centre, José María Navarro. During the opening ceremony, they highlighted the extraordinary results achieved in this project led by the province of Jaén, which has enabled synergies to be established between two sectors with great economic potential in the province, the olive oil sector and the plastics industry.

After the opening ceremony, the main researcher of the LIFE Comp0live project, Francisco Javier Navas, took the floor, highlighting the main objectives of this European project that arises from the need to revalue the waste from the olive grove given the volume that is generated annually throughout the Mediterranean area, in order to provide an outlet for a waste with certain associated environmental problems. Thus, a suitable ecosystem will be generated based on a business model for the olive sector, where farmers can benefit from the added value of olive pruning as a reinforcement of technical materials. In addition, another of the benefits is to replace the use of fossil-based materials with other more sustainable ones, avoiding the emissions caused by burning olive pruning, which generates more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 every year in the province of Jaén alone.

This meeting brought together nearly one hundred people, including scientists and heads of companies and institutions from the olive grove and plastics sectors, who had the opportunity to see the demonstrators developed in this project, such as benches (application as urban furniture), two different types of Ford model car parts (automotive application) and a shelf (furniture), all of them made with the new sustainable materials obtained.

Next, the representative of Ford-Werke GmbH (Germany), Inga Wehmeyer, highlighted the infinite number of applications of the materials developed in the automotive world. Pascal Metiener from Caliplast-Plasturgia and Francisco Peña from Matricería Peña shared their experience in the use of this new material in domestic and urban furniture, respectively. In addition, Manuel Barneo, a technician from the Agriculture Delegation of the Andalusian Regional Government in Granada, gave his point of view from the olive grove sector, highlighting the current problem of olive pruning and its transcendence in the future. Similarly, Anastasio José Villanueva, researcher at IFAPA, focused his speech on the circular olive sector and the future challenges in the search for the development of value-added products from its by-products.

Continuing with the programme, Rafael Castillo Barrero from Corporación Tecnológica Andalucía highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration as the key to progress in innovation in order to face current and future challenges. Finally, Javier Mena, head of the CLAMBER Project in Castilla-La Mancha shared his perspective on the world of bioprocesses and bioeconomy, which is currently in great demand.

After the midday break, various presentations were given on topics and real-life experiences. Firstly, the researcher from the University of Cadiz, Noelia Daiana Machado, gave a presentation entitled Application of supercritical technology in the functionalisation of polymers using olive leaf extracts. Next, Sergio Ignacio Molina (Matersia) addressed the valorisation of agro-residues in composite materials processed by fused granular manufacturing. Heather Wray (TNO) then explained the conversion of olive pomace into intermediate energy carriers and the results obtained in the F-CUBED project. Then, Salomé Robbert, from Natac Group, presented key aspects in the botanical extracts industry through an innovative model of intelligent, dynamic and sustainable production. The event closed with the speech My plastic house by the popular science communicator Deborah García Bello.

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