On June 22, 2021, the meat cluster of Catalonia INNOVACC and the agri-food cluster of Nuevo León-Mexico AGROALIM signed a collaboration agreement:
As part of this collaboration agreement, an inter-cluster conference on sustainability in the agri-food sector was held on 7 and 8 July 2021, with the participation of 80 people from the two clusters.
The following is a brief summary of the presentations and main conclusions of the two days.
After the welcome of the presidents of the clusters, by Jesús Velazco (AGROALIM) and Esteve Espuña (INNOVACC) began the presentations of the first day dedicated to “Reduction of carbon footprint and water footprint in the agri-food sector”.
Norma Alicia Ramos Delgado (Sociedad Mexicana de Aguas AC – Technological Institute of Nuevo Léon) with the presentation “The water footprint in Mexico, have we advanced?” he explained the serious problems that Mexico faces in relation to the availability of water, especially in the most industrialized areas or with the highest population density. For this reason Mexico is a net importer of virtual water, in fact the second in the world after Japan, due to its need to import products with an external water footprint (generated in the countries of origin of the products purchased, such as the United States, Canada, China or Brazil). He indicated that in Nuevo León is working thoroughly on the reuse of wastewater from the agri-food sector to mitigate dust, for cooling towers, irrigation in green areas and sports fields and also for power generation .
Joan Colón (BETA Technology Center – University of Vic) and Anna Sol (Argal Alimentación) made the presentation “Tools for the calculation of the carbon footprint and water footprint of food product”. Joan Colón explained the need to use tools to measure the carbon and water footprint of each food product, which are homologable and comparable, and recommended the PEF (Environmental Product Footprint) developed by the European Union. This tool is being used by the company Argal with the support of UVIC, and Anna Sol commented on the effort required to obtain data from its internal process (and also those of its suppliers) but also the competitive advantage. which means for the company, by differentiating itself from its competitors, to help improve sustainability, savings in resource consumption and opportunities for improvement detected by inefficiencies or waste.
Laura Mejías (BETA Technology Center – University of Vic) and Gerard Masferrer (Matadero Frigorífico del Cardoner, S.A. (MAFRICA)
) they made the presentation of the project “ACCELWATER. Optimization of water use and recovery of wastewater treatment in the food and beverage industries: meat, beers, dairy, tomato processing, fish farms “.This project has a European aid Horizon 2020 (www.accelwater.eu), which will make four demonstration cases in different sectors of food and beverages, with pilot plants where you can try the best solutions to save water and recovery of waste and by-products of sewage treatment plants. The Catalan part of the project is made up of the Matadero Frigorífico del Cardoner, the University of Vic and INNOVACC, and will focus on the meat sector. Mejías and Masferrer explained that the pilot plant is being designed and that the tests will begin in a few months. At the end of the project (2024) it is expected to have achieved 40% recovery of wastewater for reuse in the slaughterhouse itself, 20% of solid waste from the treatment plant recovered and the production of four by-products. It will also be possible to know the experiences of the other subsectors involved in the project that will carry out pilot tests in other countries (Greece, Italy, Iceland).
Miguel Ángel Martínez Urincho (National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy) made the presentation “Strategies for energy reduction in the industrial sector” and reviewed the main motivations for saving energy, how it should be done in organizations, and the need to evaluate the actions taken and verify the results achieved. He also outlined some opportunities for improvement in different aspects of food businesses.
On July 8, the conference was entitled “Good practices in the circular economy and recyclability.”
Belinda González (Qualtia Alimentos) made the presentation “Qualtia. Sustainability best practices ” and focused his explanation on three success stories of this important Mexican food company. On the one hand, a wastewater treatment plant in Tepotzotlán (State of Mexico) with a treatment of 1,500 m3 / day where 300 m3 of water is reused per day. In the same town there is a cogeneration plant that generates 21.3 MWh / year, 108,000 m3 / year of hot water and 31,600 tons of steam / year. Finally, he explained that, in the plants of San Nicolás de los Garza (Nuevo León) and in Tepotzotlán, they recycle 1,852 tons / year of polyethylene (which comes from their own waste or from suppliers) and manufacture more than 60,000 boxes for food transport. .
Frederic Bigas (Bigas Alsina) and Santi Alsina (Matadero Frigorífico de Avinyó, S.A. (Grup Roma)) made the presentation “Obtaining renewable energy through pig slaughterhouse waste”. Santi Alsina highlighted the commitment to the Avignon company and the entire business group in relation to improving sustainability. Frederic Bigas presented the project carried out in the framework of INNOVACC for energy recovery of pig hair and other solid waste from treatment plants, which thanks to a European grant Horizon 2020 (PIGHEAT) could be completed and finally implemented in the Avignon slaughterhouse. Dry hair is mixed with plant biomass in the biomass boiler and a plant biomass saving of 20% is obtained.
Next, Elsa Lloret (IRTA) spoke about “Innovations in plastic materials for more sustainable packaging” explaining the results of the MATSOS project in which the companies Salgot, Mafrica, Monells, Enplater, Klöckner Pentalplast participated, as well as IRTA and INNOVACC. She summarized the tests carried out during the project and highlighted the development of new single-material plastics that have finally been implemented by the participating companies in their packaging. These are containers that use less plastic weight, are made from% recycled plastic and can be recycled. At the same time, he said that some cured products could be packaged with compostable bioplastics.
Finally, Gabriel Santos (Zubex) explained the presentationa “Sustainable bio-oriented materials for meat packaging” and the assistants could know some of the films developed by the Mexican company very suitable for pieces of meat with bone or sharp, since they allow less thickness of plastic but with a high resistance to the rupture, in addition to being biodegradable (normative USA).