Juan Francisco Serrano, PSOE deputy for Jaén, spokesman in the Agriculture and Livestock Commission and member of the Science and Industry Commissions of the Congress of Deputies, has known the biocomposites developed from olive pruning and recycled plastic in the framework of the European project LIFE Comp0live, which is coordinated by Andaltec. This initiative is working to demonstrate at industrial level the use of olive pruning residues as reinforcement in biocomposites with applications in the automotive sector and domestic and urban furniture, among others. The project consortium is also made up of the University of Jaén, Citoliva and Matricería Peña (Spain), Caliplast (France), Plasturgia (France) and Ford-Werke GmbH (Germany).
Serrano was able to see the Andaltec Technology Center facilities where the project is being developed, samples of the biocomposites developed, as well as some components manufactured from these materials. The member of the Congress of Deputies has been received by Víctor Torres, mayor of Martos; Daniel Aguilera, responsible for Business Development of Andaltec; María Dolores La Rubia, main researcher of the University of Jaén in this project, and Rocío Córdoba, responsible for Communication of Citoliva. Serrano stressed that this project has the great virtue of uniting the enormous potential of the agri-food sector and the industrial sector in the province of Jaén. "Projects such as LIFE Comp0olive can be the great added value that agriculture in Jaén needs. In addition, it has the great advantage that it focuses on the circular economy and the valorization of olive grove waste, which is in line with one of the preferential lines of action that the European Union has set for us," he said.
In addition, he has valued the great work being done by researchers from Andaltec, Citoliva and the University of Jaén in this project and stressed the importance of companies in the olive sector to bet on innovation to improve their competitiveness in the market. The next step of the European R&D project is the organization on June 22 of an International Colloquium on Composites in the French city of Nantes, where the latest advances achieved in LIFE Comp0live will be presented.
LIFE Comp0live aims to valorize olive pruning to turn it into a raw material with potential to be introduced into polymeric matrices and improve their properties, also reducing the environmental impact by reducing CO2 emissions caused by practices such as pruning burning, which is still carried out today. One of the most significant advances of this project is that, when this olive pruning fiber, conveniently treated, can be added to a polymeric matrix as reinforcement, it results in a composite material with a significant improvement in its properties and an associated reduced environmental impact. In addition, the material, once transformed by conventional plastic transformation technologies, allows innovative aspects and textures to be achieved, even when the polymeric matrices used are recycled plastics. The researchers have so far made significant progress in the development of materials and are currently working on the scale-up phase of the processes involved in the manufacture of the materials.
The LIFE Comp0live project arises from the need to revalue olive residues, given the volume generated annually throughout the Mediterranean area and the scarce initiatives to provide an outlet for a product with certain associated environmental problems. The objective is to generate a suitable ecosystem based on a new business model from which farmers can benefit thanks to the potential added value of olive pruning as a reinforcement of technical materials. Work is also being done to enhance the sensitivity and awareness of the primary sector by promoting the economic and ecological management of olive grove residues.