As Fossil resources are becoming a less desirable feedstock for the realization of many products, an alternative bioeconomy transforming renewable resources in valuable products could provide viable solutions to the global challenges posed by environmental, economic and societal sustainability. Globally, about 998 million tonnes of agricultural waste are produced yearly. Moreover, the composition of agricultural waste is more or less constant during time. Thus, it is a good building block to produce fuel that can be exploited by the farmer himself. Today, agricultural waste is either disposed or converted into biogas, a mixture of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide, which is combusted to produce electricity and heat. Disposing the waste is an expense, while burning the biogas allows to recover only 60% of the energy potential of the waste, since only methane undergoes the combustion reaction.
The following project describes BiGUV (Biogas Upgrading and CO2 Valorisation), which is a solution that aims at following the principles of circular economy by enhancing biomethane production on farm, providing farmers with bio-fuels and exploiting the potential value of CO2 as a building block for further chemical transformations. BiGUV is the union of three already existing processes into one industrial process with the aim of maximizing the recovery of the energetic value of agricultural waste. The processes are biogas production, CO2 separation and CO2 conversion, achieved respectively with a biodigester, ionic liquids and other micro-organisms. Italy is already in the European top Five for production of biogas on farm and therefore possesses the foundations to begin a transition towards an economy of auto traction based on methane. This is the vision shared by the BE-SEI Team and industries like Sapio , Air Liquide  and CNH Industrial , who is soon releasing new methane tractors in the European market.
PRINCIPAL ACADEMIC TUTOR
Andrea Lamberti, DISAT –Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino
OTHER ACADEMIC TUTOR
Stefano Bianco, DISAT –Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino
IIT – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia SEI – School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Massimo Pescarollo, School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Angela Re, Centre for Sustainable Future Technologies –Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Della Libera Andrea, Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Li Causi Giorgio, Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Loffredo Michele, Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Nanotti Valeria, Physics of Complex Systems, Politecnico di Torino
Perez Johnny Camilo, Materials Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Randazzo Simona, Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano