Examples of Technologies and Treatments

After reviewing various case studies applied in different regions, we can conclude that the most appropriate treatment depends not only on intrinsic factors but also on the capacity and system of production of the plants (olive mills and extraction plants and other industries or activities) [1].

As an example, the present practise in Greece and Italy is decanting in three-phase conditions (Fig. 26) with generation of alpechin and treatment of orujo in extraction plants that use hexane to extract the orujo oil. Part of the deoiled orujo (orujillo) is used to dry wet orujo in its own extraction plant. The excess orujillo is sold as solid fuel (ceramic manufacture furnaces, cement kilns, domestic heating), or used as raw material for composting and as additive for animal feed.

Decanting Examples
Figure 26 Common integration of treatments for oruj o from three-phase decanting method (from Ref. 1).

Spain is a different case, especially in the southern regions, where production is carried out almost exclusively by medium and big cooperatives, and where the two-phase decanting method has been adopted by more than 95% of producers (Fig. 27). The main waste is alpeorujo. Nowadays the "repaso" or second decanting of alpeorujo in the same oil mill is producing a new kind of wastewater, not equal to alpachin but nevertheless representing a growing environmental problem. The orujo oil can still be extracted by extraction plants, but the oil content decreases over time due to the deoiling of alpeorujo made in the oil mills. This means that some producers have decided to burn deoiled alpeorujo to produce electricity. Recent normative, with assured advantages for producers of energy from biomass, has also contributed to the use of orujillo as fuel in small electrical power plants (15 MW). Other new applications such as the production of active coal are also emerging [1].

Currently there is a tendency in some countries to move from the traditional pressing system to the three-phase system and from three-phase to the two-phase system, so the use of different models is constantly changing. Since there are no general unified solutions, every case should be studied according to the local conditions.

As we have seen in the previous section, in the case of waste resulting from the two-phase decanting process, separation into pulp, alpeorujo liquid fraction (ALF), and pits allows for the application of selective treatments and techniques such as composting, bioremediation, and gasification. Another valuable point is worth mentioning here: mixing alpeorujo with other wastes such as molasses improves the production of animal feed with a high protein content.

Examples Manufacturing Policy
Figure 27 Common integration of treatments for orujo from two-phase decanting method (from Ref. 1).

With regard to the energy value of wastes, it is important to consider that the integration of energy cycles will optimize costs and environmental impacts, for example, by burning pits to dry, or predry the waste or alpeorujo, and combustion/gasification of it to recover energy and combustible gases to obtain and use electrical energy [1].

Furthermore, there should be always specific training programs for operators and supervisors in oil mills and related waste treatment units.

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