A shift in the waste sector: LIFE GREEN ADAPT increases the resilience of EU waste infrastructure to climate change

21 July 2021 | CO2


The European Union has awarded 3M€ to the LIFE GREEN ADAPT project to increase resilience to climate change of waste infrastructures by the application of blue-green infrastructures.

To reach climate targets, industries need to accelerate the transition towards a climate-resilient, resource efficiency, low-carbon, and circular economy. Starting from July 2021, the 42 months LIFE GREEN ADAPT project will increase the resilience of EU waste infrastructures to climate change by the application of green and nature-based solutions.

The project will focus on landfills as a potential source of severe pollution episodes when impacted by extreme weather events by demonstrating the potential of blue-green infrastructures (BGI) and ecosystem-based approaches. LIFE GREEN ADAPT will demonstrate the ability of BGI to manage flash flooding and run-off caused by heavy rainfall and prevent fires and explosions caused by droughts and unusual heat waves.

The LIFE GREEN ADAPT achieve this through (i) the development of novel bio-technosoils made of different wastes from the landfill to stabilise, recover and increase the soil quality by regulating nutrient supply and improving soil structure; and (ii) the engineering and construction of a set of innovative treatment wetlands for landfill polluted leachate and run-off water will deliver quality water, enhancing water reuse (e.g., for landfill irrigation) or discharge into natural courses. All the solutions developed in the project will be implemented at an industrial demonstration site located in the North-West of Spain to validate the potential of the BGI and ecosystem-based approaches and verify their performance under a real-scale landfill scenario. LIFE GREEN ADAPT will also support the transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy by reducing water consumption and green-house gas emissions in the waste sector.

Replicability and transferability will be key aspects of the LIFE GREEN ADAPT project. It will involve a multi-level governance analysis, vulnerability risks tools and innovation workshops. These will engage various key stakeholders, including potential end-users, policy makers and investors, and address the co-creation of the solutions developed during the length of the project so they are fit for purpose.

The success of the project will be ensured by a multidisciplinary and international consortium integrated by 7 partners based in Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and Slovenia and led by the AIMEN in Spain. XILOGA, the one of the main Galician companies for the management of non-hazardous waste, will be the adopter of LIFE GREEN ADAPT solutions (end-user) and will commercialise the bio-technosoils to other waste managers, landfill owners or public authorities interested in waste valorisation and soil bioremediation. These will be: LIMNOS, a company dedicated to the development of eco-remediation solutions for environmental restoration and protection, that will commercialise BGI design and engineering; FACTOR, an international group specialised in innovative and sustainable solutions, calculation of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change vulnerability studies, will provide risk and vulnerability assessment services to public authorities in charge of waste/water infrastructures and utilities interested in implementing BGI; ISLE, a global and independent technology and innovation consultancy firm specialising in cleantech and business
consulting, that will offer BGI solutions brokerage and matchmaking services to BGI developers to accelerate co-development and market uptake of their solutions; AIMEN, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Aarhus University will benefit from including the IP generated in their IP portfolio to exploit it through the optimal business model (e.g., licensing) defined in the exploitation and business strategy of LIFE GREEN ADAPT and will use knowledge developed during LIFE GREEN ADAPT in new R&I activities and training/education.

The consortium is ready to contribute to the shift towards a climate-resilient, resource efficient and low-carbon economy, aligned to the European Circular Economy Action Plan, Green Deal Communication, EU strategy on adaptation to climate change and Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, among others.

Ana Pascual Formoso (AIMEN), LIFE GREEN ADAPT project coordinator said:
“LIFE GREEN ADAPT represents an important step towards to make Europe more climate resilient on Adaptation to Climate Change. The approach proposed in the project for increasing the landfill´s climate resilience is based on a combination of technology according to Blue-Green Infrastructures and ecosystem-based solutions. In addition, this system will be able to treat approximately 20,000 m3 of landfill leachate and 1,300 m3 of rainwater harvested and to stabilize 0.2 ha reducing greenhouse gas emissions up to 92% (CO2 eq).”

Inês Ferreira (FACTOR), said:
“Landfills are particularly sensitive to climate change stressors especially to heatwaves, floods and droughts since they are usually open-aired and exposed to these factors. LIFE GREEN ADAPT will propose recommendations and lines of action to reduce landfills vulnerability to these stressors based on an analysis of the resilience achieved by the measures implemented in the demonstration site, and on an estimation of the economic costs of climate change impacts on the landfill.”