Abengoa, a company that applies technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, opened its first demonstration plant that uses waste-to-biofuels (W2B) technology. The plant has a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) from which it will obtain up to 1.5 million liters of bioethanol for use as fuel, Abengoa said.

According to the company, Abengoa has "great potential" to develop W2B plants in America based on the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's goals to produce second generation bioethanol through MSW conversion.

The demonstration plant, located in Babilafuente, Spain, uses a fermentation and enzymatic hydrolysis treatment, according to the company. During the transformation process, the organic matter is treated in various ways to produce organic fiber that is rich in cellulose and hemicellulose, which is subsequently converted into bioethanol.

The bioethanol produced at the W2B plant has multiple uses such as in gasoline additives, fuel for cars; solvents for chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and as an intermediate product in producing jet fuel, Abengoa said.

Abengoa's waste-to-biofuels (W2B) demonstration plant in Babilafuente, Spain.Photo courtesy Abengoa

Abengoa's waste-to-biofuels (W2B) demonstration plant in Babilafuente, Spain.
Photo courtesy Abengoa