Circular Economy

The wideness and complexity of “Circular Economy” topic can be a challenge towards the achievement of applicable results. In order to effectively contribute to the objective of EU Circular Economy Package, RE-CORD identified clear targets and strategic programme, focused on processing waste materials to extract specific, high value products. Thanks to its multidisciplinary expertise, RE-CORD approach to circular economy consists in the application of thermo-chemical conversion technologies to a wide range of organic feedstocks, with a focus on those waste materials which are daily produced by both urban and industrial activities.

Waste as a renewable resource

Re-Cord scientists and engineers are daily engaged to analyse and design innovative solutions processing waste material extracting sustainable products. The waste materials (named European Waste Categories) object of Re-Cord activity on circular economy can be summarized as follows:

  • EWC 02: Wastes from agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, food preparation and processing
  • EWC 03: Wastes from wood processing and the production of panels and furniture, pulp, paper and cardboard
  • EWC 04: Wastes from the leather, fur and textile industries
  • EWC 10 01: Wastes from power stations and other combustion plants
  • EWC 13: oil wastes and wastes of liquid fuels
  • EWC 15 01: packaging (including separately collected municipal packaging waste)
  • EWC 16 01: end-of-life vehicles from different means of transport (including off-road machinery) and wastes from dismantling of end-of-life vehicles and vehicle maintenance
  • EWC 19: wastes from waste management facilities, off-site wastewater treatment plants and the preparation of water intended for human consumption and water for industrial use

There is a wide range of high value products which can be derived from waste streams. The European Commission itself identifies, as a priority, to use residues as resource to produce biofuels, biofertilizers, and other 27 materials, identified as Critical Raw Materials (CRM), i.e. those raw materials which are economically and strategically important for the European economy, but have a high-risk associated with their supply and for which there is a lack of (viable) substitutes.


The waste categories identified above represent valuable resources useful for producing biofuels, organic fertilizers, but also some of the most important CRMs, in particular: Phosphorus, Silicon, Coking Coal, Magnesium, and Borate.

Our aim is to promote the valorisation of all above-mentioned waste materials by adopting advanced conversion processes, able to turn residual matter into bioproducts, biofertilizers and raw materials. Thanks to the multidisciplinary experience of its team, RE-CORD is able to identify the optimal procedure to effectively valorise the waste material. For this reason, RE-CORD is member of the Italian Circular Economy Stakeholders’ platform (ICESP), and of the Italian Phosphorus Platform, where we contribute to the identification of best practices, and innovative technologies. The spectrum of RE-CORD activities concerning waste recovery is the following.

Full characterisation in laboratory

Performing a complete analysis of residual stream allows the team to assess the quality of the material. The qualitative aspects are represented by:

CHNS Elemental Analyzer
CHNS Elemental Analyzer.
  • The concentration of Carbon and hydrogen
  • The concentration of Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus
  • The amount of ashes and their metals content
  • The recoverable oils and hydrocarbons

Waste processing in pilot units

Depending on the specific type of waste material, RE-CORD can perform a broad range of test in its experimental area.

  • Waste processing in different slow pyrolysis pilot units, to convert waste in gaseous fuel and carbon rich biochar, with optional downstream biochar chemical upgrading.
  • Extraction of valuable elements (Phosphorus, Carbon, metals) from inorganic material.
  • Processing of liquid organic waste streams in a continuous hydrothermal liquefaction unit, to convert waste into a bio-oil (BioCrude) and inert solid fraction.
  • Process wet biowaste streams and wastewater in anaerobic digestion units for extracting biogas, assess biomethane potential, and stabilize the biowaste organic matter.
  • Process organic waste in dedicated composting units to assess its compostability, and the final compost quality.
  • Upgrade residual oils by removing unwanted contaminants and produce green liquid fuels.

Design and validate new conversion processes

RE-CORD has a scientific approach to the theme of circular economy and its team is continuously working to improve and develop technologies able to process specific streams with high performances. For this reason, the consortium’s activity involves the design of new components and innovative machineries able to optimize the underlying thermo-chemical processes and thus effectively turning waste into reliable, sustainable products.