Bioconversion and co-processing of materials as a solution to face global warming – Awdhesh

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Mexico is among the first fifteen countries worldwide for its contribution of GHG emissions with 737 million tons of CO2e, for which it is imperative to accelerate and expand the use of existing solutions in the management and transformation of waste, to through green solutions, as well as creating those that will be required in the future, to improve the use of water, waste and energy.

Mexico City.- Although since 2016, the Paris agreement has been signed at a global level with the aim of preventing the increase in the average global temperature of the planet from exceeding 2ºC with respect to pre-industrial levels, in addition to promoting additional efforts that make it possible for global warming does not exceed 1.5ºC, this goal is not being fully achieved. This is why at the COP26 held last year, the commitment of different countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 was reinforced.

According to data from the World Bank, the global carbon footprint is almost 46 billion tons of CO2e and 4.5 tons of CO2e per person. In Mexico, it is 3.7 tons of CO2e, a figure that places the country among the first fifteen countries worldwide for its contribution to GHG emissions with 737 million tons of CO2e as of 2019 (INECC). This makes the country an area of ​​opportunity for the implementation of green solutions.

It is worth mentioning that the National Academy of Sciences of the United States recently analyzed the relevance of reducing the generation of other pollutants in addition to CO2, such as methane, hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, black soot, ozone smog, nitrous oxide, beyond fuels fossils by 2050. This is because most of these last a short time in the atmosphere, so their reduction contributes to a faster temperature increase than another strategy.

In the face of the climate emergency that puts people and the sustainability of the environment, industries, economy and society at risk; the commitment of Veolia – a leading company in the comprehensive management of water, waste and energy- is to accelerate and expand the use of existing solutions, as well as create those that will be required in the future, to improve the use of water, waste and energy.

An example of this is the co-processing of materials or substances that can be used as fuels, but without being fossil or nuclear, consists of transforming the waste generated by various industries into renewable fuel for cement companies to use in their furnaces, thus avoiding the creation of new waste, ash or emissions. This process is implemented in the Environmental Center of San Luis Potosí in which the company seeks to transform the waste from the different industries located in the Bajío region, and thus, contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint.

This waste-to-energy plant has the capacity to co-process up to 40,000 tons of waste per year, from the automotive, mining, and aerospace sectors, among others; This represents more than 72,000 tons of CO2 per year, which will no longer be emitted into the environment. In addition to the fact that the use of fossil fuel is also eliminated and the transport of waste is avoided in 1,600 trailers, which together emit 999,043 tons of CO2 per year.

Another way of managing industrial waste is bioconversion. It converts organic waste or by-products (food scraps, harvest scraps, food processing by-products, etc.) into products with high added value that can be used in different ways. An example of bioconversion processes is the use of larvae of the black soldier fly, which is a scavenger and is found throughout the world and whose reproduction is extremely fast. When the larvae dry, they become fertilizer to fertilize the land or a protein concentrate capable of feeding livestock, thus avoiding the deforestation caused by this sector, as well as the emission of GHG from the feces of these animals, among other benefits.

In turn, from biomass, energy obtained from organic waste, which is present in various industrial sectors, which is also known for its low carbon content, making it possible to reduce emissions into the environment. The company will build a biomass processing plant, which results from the eucalyptus used by the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, to generate steam in Brazil. 215 thousand tons per year will be prepared and consumed in the boilers to supply more than 900 thousand tons per year of steam at a pressure of 23 bar. With this project, there will be a reduction of 147 thousand tons of CO2 per year.

We must add political, social and business will and promote a long-term vision, because it is what will allow the ecological transformation in the world and with it, face climate change.

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