Themis Spa has reached the final selections of the ESG Climate Action Initiative, a competition promoted by the Insurance Division of Intesa Sanpaolo Vita and by the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center to finance the Italian firms more committed in the development of projects for the ecological transition and the creation of a more eco-sustainable world.
Taking part in the Intesa Initiative was a natural choice for Themis, a company born with the specific aim of creating machines and systems that concretely apply the principles of the circular economy. Years of research have thus led to the development of WRT, a technology that embodies the fundamental rule of the Green Economy that waste does not exist.
WRT is a machine designed to treat organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), industrial wastewater of various matrices and waste from agri-food production within the same plants that produce them. Thanks to its small size, ease of use and maintenance and low operating costs this technology is also within the reach of small and medium-sized enterprises. The waste treatment process allows for the extraction of water, which can be immediately reused for industrial and agricultural uses. The remaining dry residue is reduced to a volume that is about 10% of the original one, thus making easy its transport and storage. According to its origins the dry residue becomes a resource usable for example as fertilizer, filler for construction or bioactive compound for the pharmaceutical industry.
The project that allowed Themis to successfully pass all the selection phases of the Initiative up to enter the shortlist of finalists concerns the development of WRT Small, an even more compact and economical version of WRT optimized to treat the organic fraction of solid waste from the catering and hotel sectors and even from block of flats.
The canteens, restaurants, shopping centers and of course the families of a city of one and a half million inhabitants like Milan produce approximately 800,000 tons of organic waste in a year. If we consider that only 10% of this weight is represented by dry components there is the theoretical possibility of recovering 720,000 tons of water, an invaluable reservoir with the ongoing water crisis. Even if it is not drinkable, it could be used for all domestic and commercial uses that do not require fresh water, saving the latter for direct human consumption.
The economic benefits obtained with the reduction of the costs of collection and transport of the dry component, reduced in both volume and weight, would be added to the water saving. It is not excluded that the dry residues may have a commercial value. In fact they are made up by organic substances that can be used as fertilizers in urban areas for the care of gardens, parks or community gardens or can be sold to farms.
The benefits of WRT Small can go beyond these immediate practical results and concern the organization of strategies to protect the environment and the ecosystem. Up to now we have relied on a centralized waste treatment management, based for example on a few but large composting plants built outside towns. Despite the high costs incurred for the transport of waste and its treatment, often the cause of friction with the population due to the exhalations, these plants have never been able to completely satisfy the demand for disposal. Therefore a substantial part of the wet fraction has always been destined for landfills or incinerators.
The centralized strategy was weak from a hardware point of view. But it was very weak as regards the human component represented by the citizens. The latter have always borne the burden of correctly carrying out waste sorting, under penalty of fines and penalties, and to pay very high taxes on waste at the same time. The advantage of a cleaner environment that citizens obtaines after spending time and money was perceived as too distant to justify a firm commitment at least in the separation of waste.
A decentralized environmental strategy, on the other hand, would allow the owner of a restaurant, a hotelier or even the individual inhabitants of a block of flats to obtain immediate and tangible results in the form of less taxes and even earnings. This prospect would also increase the sense of responsibility and attention to waste sorting. The solution of the problem in the disposal of organic waste would be accompanied by better results also in the collection of glass, plastic and metal waste.
The results of the competition will be announced by September 2022. In case of victory, Themis will use the prize to develop a prototype of WRT Small, an APP for the remote management of WRT systems and the development and integration of software for WRT Small.