In Greece, petroleum refineries produce around 34 000 tonnes of petroleum sludge (PRS) per year, while the corresponding PRS quantities produced in Europe are estimated to be around 1 million tonnes. PRS, due to their high hydrocarbons and heavy metals content, are classified as hazardous waste and their production considerably increases the environmental footprint of oil production process. Due to the complex and inconstant composition of PRS, cost-effective treatment and proper disposal pose considerable technical and industrial challenges worldwide. These wastes are a major source of pollution to the aquatic environment since they are composed of oil and grease along with many other toxic organic compounds (including ammonia, sulphides, phenols and hydrocarbons). The total quantity of aqueous effluent discharged by European petroleum refineries is 2.5 billion tonnes/year. Clean-up technologies, such as incineration, plasma treatment and sludge burial in secure landfills, are expensive. Furthermore, although bio-treatment reduces the organic content of PRS, there is no economically-viable technology available to reduce its metal content. It is therefore necessary to apply technologies that will effectively address both issues efficiently from an economic and environmental point of view.
The objective of the LIFE DIANA project is the smart exploitation of petroleum sludge (PRS) produced by the Corinth Refineries of Motor Oil Hellas. The project aims to demonstrate that PRS, when treated with modified industrial minerals such as perlite and bentonite, can generate a valorised sludge mixture (VSM) and thus transform a hazardous waste material into an added-value commercial product with a low environmental risk. The specific aim is to develop a stable high-quality engineered soil, by mixing VSM with soil improvers, to achieve properties suitable for the cost-effective construction and restoration of landfill sites and abandoned quarries. Due to its tailored properties, the engineered soil can substitute for much larger quantities of materials currently used for these purposes.
LIFE DIANA targets the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Through the efficient valorisation and re-use of combined wastes from different industries, it will create new circular business concepts, promote the eco-design of new waste valorisation chains, and stimulate the development of innovative waste technologies and exploitation systems. The project also contributes to the Waste Framework Directive and the Soil Thematic Strategy with an emphasis on soil sealing and improved land use.
Expected results: The LIFE DIANA project aims to achieve the following expected results: