LIFE19 ENV IT 000165 – LIFE FREEDOM Facility REactor and Equiment to Depolymerize Organic Matter

Entidad financiadora
48 Months 01/10/2020–30/09/2024
Investigador(es) principal (es)
4,397,563 Euro
Official web

Project Location: Piacenza (Italy)
Budget:  4,397,563 Euro
EC Co-Funding:  55%
Duration: 48 Months  01/10/2020–30/09/2024
Coordinating Beneficiary: Agrosistemi
Associated Beneficiaries: CAP Holding; CSIC-IETcc; Mondo Pulito; Syngen; Università di Pavia





The project proposes an ecological alternative that contributes to the development of an economically sustainable recovery of sewage sludge waste

  • To eliminate the production of sewage sludge waste
  • To demonstrate the feasibility of a waste management system that is truly simple and completely different from the current ones
  • To demonstrate the effectiveness of hydrothermal liquefaction technology (HTL) for the treatment of sewage sludge


To apply at demonstration level hydrothermal liquefaction as innovative and reliable technology for the treatment of sewage sludge and the production of useful materials

To install a HTL plant at an urban WWTP directly connected with the purifier, turning waste into useful raw materials and avoiding the creation of waste treatment centers


  • Design and construction of the demonstration plant
  • Functional test of the system
  • Valorisation of the products obtained
  • Monitoring of environmental and socio-economic aspects of the project
  • Dissemination, communication and replicability


The production of waste sewage sludge (European waste code ERC 190805) will be eliminated.

Sludge transport from the purifier to the disposal site will be avoided (Carbon food print reduced).

In place of sludge disposal, the purifier could potentially produce 380 tons of bio-oil and tar to be used in bituminous conglomerates to produce road surfaces (around 9,500 m2/year).

By using the bio-oil as fuel for thermal use it could be possible to obtain about 3800 MWth.

The solid residue of the process will offer 250 tons of mineral fraction to produce novel binders as alkaline cement or asphalts.


The project results will support implementation of:

EU’s Water Framework Directive and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive by

  • avoiding water loss (ca. 800 kg of water per ton of sludge) and facilitating the reuse of treated water;
  • eliminating pathogens in waste water.

Landfill Directive 1999/31 and Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278 (SSD) and the Fertilising Products Regulation by

  • reducing the amount of sewage sludge and that disposed in landfills;
  • recycling resources and recovering nutrients (N and P)

The project will be able to stimulate and guide the transition towards a full circular economy in the waste water sector and beyond, according to the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy


To build, install and sell HTL Freedom plants at customers’ premises on WWTPs and practice advantageous rates compared to the average market.

The potential market amounts to 26 Mt of municipal sludge in Europe. This quantity is part of the total 40 Mt that is currently incinerated or disposed in landfills.

The countries of interest will be: Italy, Croatia, Spain, Germany and Austria.

FREEDOM technology will be applied in two other types of activities:

  • Digesters to produce biogas from agricultural waste, livestock manure or dedicated crops.
  • Companies that manage the recovery of OFMSW (Organic Fraction Municipal Solid Waste) through anaerobic digestion.

After 7 years, the aim is to reach 5% of the potential market with 1,3 Mt/year of treated sludge, saving over 11.000 t of CO2 and about 85.000 t of natural gas.