Olive pomace gasification

Where: Spain
Bioeconomy theme: Food/ agriculture, Bioenergy, Biomaterials

Aceites Guadalentin olive oil mill has pioneered the first gasification plant of dried olive cake operating at full scale in the agroindustry facility. The innovation stems from the need and opportunity to manage locally the so-called olive pomace. This wet by-product is usually object of transport to be brought to final users, as can be olive pomace oil extraction industries or bioenergy plants.

What does “Olive pomace gasification” aim to achieve:

The solution adopted by Aceites Guadalentín follows the BIOLIZA vision and approach to full circularity of olive oil mills. In this stage the solution adopted is the thermal gasification of olive pomace to produce a syngas that is subsequently cleaned and burnt in gas engines to produce combined heat and power – CHP. The thermal input of the facility is equivalent to 2 MW, and it provides heat for olive pomace drying, whereas the power is utilized for self-consumption and to be sold to the grid.
The on-site thermal conversion of olive cake to syngas reduces its current troublesome management, since it reduces as well the needs for transport to centralized plants. Furthermore, the emissions from drying are quite reduced in comparison to the drying systems utilized in other olive mills.
As such, Aceites Guadalentín innovative approach facilitates a de-centralised local bio-based solution to a residue, which is usually produced in rural areas of olive production regions.
Additionally it produces biochar as by-product, a valuable material which market integration is being now explored by BIOLIZA and Aceites Guadalentín, to sustain the facility sustainability and the circularity.
The solution further opens the door for a embracing full circularity by using the available heat and power produced for cascading technologies like: handle green wastewater/brine from wet olive pomace centrifugation and produce biogas, valuable brine (high content of nutrients), purified water for irrigation and separation of ashes from biochar to produce valuable additives to composting, or as feedstock to chemical industry.