LIFE Project Cover Photo

Intensive treatment of waste effluents and conversion into useful sustainable outputs: biogas, nutrients and water

Reference: LIFE19 ENV/ES/000283 | Acronym: LIFE INFUSION



Landfill leachate and the liquid from the digestate of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste are considered as wastewater. They must therefore be treated prior todischarge or reclamation. The organic matter and ammonium that they contain can potentially be removed and reused, to create a circular economy around these waste streams.


LIFE INFUSION aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a circular economy approach to treating the liquid digestate from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and landfill leachate. The project team aims to recover resources for use as energy, bio-fertilisers and water for irrigation. They will demonstrate the technology in two municipal solid waste treatment plants in Spain (Barcelona and Gijn). It is expected to reduce social, economic and environmental impacts. The economic impact will be reduced by using the heat surplus at the sites for co-generation, regenerating membranes, and skipping the composting step. The environmental impact will be reduced by producing renewable energy (biomethane), recovering bio-fertilisers (sludge and ammonium salts), using regenerated membranes, and using treated water for irrigation in water-scarce areas.


Expected results: The main result expected is to obtain resources from the treatment of landfill leachate and the liquid from the digestate created from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The project will help implement the circular economy in the field of wastewater, and help wastewater treatment facilities comply with the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and regulations of water reuse.

Specific expected results:

  • Reduction of the environmental impact of wastewater effluents generated in municipal solid waste treatment facilities (Key Performance Indicators (KPI): 20% reduction);
  • Alleviation of water scarcity by obtaining reclaimed water suitable for irrigation (KPI: fulfil RD 1620/2007);
  • Increase of freshwater availability at local level (KPI: 912 m/yr or 0.4 m water/m wastewater treated);
  • Production of bio-based fertilising products for the supply of nutrients and organic carbon (KPI: 1.1 t ammonium nitrate/sulphate (dry)/yr/m3 and 1.3 t dry stabilised organic matter/yr/m3);
  • Production of purified biomethane as energy supply (KPI: 87 000 m CH4/yr or 0.83 m3 biomethane/m3 treated biogas);
  • Treatment scheme to obtain reclaimed water, recover biogas and bio-based fertilisers (KPI: 0.4m3 raw wastewater/m3 treated wastewater, 24 kg (NH4)2SO4/m3 treated wastewater and 6 m biomethane/m treated wastewater);
  • Operation of anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) at thermophilic conditions and at high nitrogen concentration (KPI: COD removal >75%);
  • Recovery of a bio-based fertiliser by using stripping and membrane contactors to select the most suitable scheme (KPI: 50-90% recovered nitrogen);
  • Raw wastewater using regenerated end-of-life reverse osmosis (RO) membranes (KPI: >80% water recovery, water quality fulfilling RD 1620/2007);
  • Two field tests of the agronomic value of the obtained fertilisers and raw wastewater;
  • High purity biomethane (>90%) from biogas with ABAD BIOENERGY;
  • Reduction of 20% in overall operation and maintenance costs of the treatment of waste effluents;
  • Enhancement of the chances of economic development of the agronomic sector as a result of an increase on water/nutrient availability for irrigation/fertilisation;
  • Increase of EU citizen awareness of environmental and socio-economic impacts related to resource recovery from waste effluents;
  • Two successful cases of implementation (Barcelona and Gijn) of market-ready solutions to boost the replication in other regions and sectors; and
  • Elaboration of marketing, business and commercial activities, and Roadmap to support the market uptake of recovered bio-fertilisers.

    Reference: LIFE19 ENV/ES/000283
    Acronym: LIFE INFUSION
    Start Date: 01/09/2020
    End Date: 31/08/2024
    Total Budget: 3,119,601 €
    EU Contribution: 1,712,587 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: FUNDACI EURECAT
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Avenida Universitat Autnoma 23 Parc Tecnolgic del Valls, 08290, Cerdanyola del Valls, Barcelona, España
    Contact Person: Caroline Sielfeld

    LIFE Project Map



    • Municipal waste (including household and commercial)
    • Circular economy and Value chains


    • waste management
    • use of waste as energy source
    • waste water treatment
    • waste treatment
    • organic waste
    • biomass energy
    • renewable energy
    • water pollution


    • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.2008)
    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)


    Name Type
    DETRICON(Detricon bvba), Belgium Participant
    AMIU(AMIU Genova S.p.A.), Italy Participant
    AMB(Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona), Spain Participant
    EBESA(EBESA), Spain Participant
    COGERSA(Compañía para la Gestión de Residuos Sólidos en Asturias Sociedad Anónima Unipersonal), Spain Participant
    IRTA(Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology), Spain Participant
    AQUALIA(FCC AQUALIA S.A.), Spain Participant