The aim is to extract bioproducts that are used in the production of fertilizer as well as in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries from municipal waste streams


Researchers from Ceit-IK4 are working on two research projects that are part of the circular economy strategy promoted by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa’s Department of Environment and Waterworks.

The Osmintz project is pursuing an innovative solution that will allow acetic acid and other bioproducts to be extracted from the organic matter in municipal solid waste. To that end, the project has been collecting the waste generated by the technology campus comprising Tecnun and Ceit-IK4 (host to more than a thousand people), and submitting it to a process of direct osmosis, an innovative solution in biorefinery processes, and controlled anaerobic fermentation in a pilot plant.

Acetic acid can be used in the cosmetic, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The particular properties of acetic acid make it useful for developing innovative applications such as the production of bioplastics, lipids for biodiesel production and nutrient removal in wastewater treatment plants.

In a parallel project known as Humgarri, researchers from Ceit-IK4’s Water and Waste Group have developed a novel solution that allows humic substances to be extracted and used to generate bioproducts by using the organic fraction of urban solid waste that has previously been through a process of composting or biomethanization. The project is studying how to apply alkaline extraction processes to produce enriched currents of humic substances, which have the capacity to retain water, exchange ions and fertilizer. This solution would therefore allow composting and biomethanization products to be recovered through various applications, such as the production of high quality biological fertilizers and remediation of contaminated soils.