World Habitat Day: learning from Bergamo’s Montello Spa

768

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 7 – Today, October 7th, is the World Habitat Day. As explained on the UN Habitat webpage, this day serves to “support UN-Habitat’s mission towards transformative change in cities and human settlements – to leave no one and no place behind”. This year’s theme is ‘Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth’, looking at how innovative technology can be used for waste management, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal number 11: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.

The focus on frontier technological innovation stems from the findings of the World Economic and Social Survey 2018, according to which these technologies hold an immense potential for urban transformation. As noted by UNHabitat, “They offer the potential of better, cheaper, faster, scalable and easy to use solutions for every-day problems, including waste management”.

Urbanization can be a powerful tool for sustainable development, but only if well managed and well planned. It is therefore crucial for cities to learn from each other, exchanging their human capital, technologies, expertise and knowledge.

Italy has something to teach: a new technology, developed by a group of Cnr-Itm (Institute on Membrane Technology of the National Research Council) in collaboration with Tecno-Project Industriale S.r.l, transforms organic waste into methane and pure CO2. This new technology is already being applied on a big-scale near Bergamo, at Montello Spa, a company specialized in recovery and recycling. According to John Jansen, head of the research group, “The innovation of the facility, the first in Europe also in terms of size, is that CO2 contained in biogas, instead of being released into the atmosphere, is entirely recovered at such a purity grade that it can also be used in the food industry”.

Montello Spa, through its innovative technology, produces 3,000 m3/hour of renewable gas and 7,000 ton/year of carbon dioxide for alimentary use. To put this in perspective, the hourly production of renewable gas is sufficient to satisfy the energy needs of 20,000 families. (@OnuItalia)