VALOMASK. Design and development of a sustainable management process for discarded masks

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, FCC Medio Ambiente has launched the innovative project "Design and development of a sustainable management process for discarded masks" or VALOMASK. These materials are continuously arriving to environmental waste processing and recycling compounds. With a planned duration of two years, this project will develop a process to characterise, classify, separate and finally, recover value from them.

This project has a total budget of €630,000 and will be co-financed by the Institute for Business Competitiveness of Castilla y León, within the R&D Line 2021 projects in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It will be developed in the facilities of the Valladolid Waste Treatment Centre, owned by the Valladolid City Council and managed by a joint venture led by FCC Medio Ambiente. To achieve the objectives of the project, the CARTIF technology centre will be involved.

This project will carry out, firstly, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the masks that are being processed in the environmental compounds, which are currently unprepared for their differentiated treatment. Subsequently, the performance of these masks in the different processes within an environmental compound will be analysed and a novel separation system will be developed, with the ultimate aim of being subjected to environmentally sustainable recovery by means of a thermochemical process and subsequent fermentation. As a result of this pyrolysis, a gas rich in propylene and an oil will be obtained, which will be used in fermentations with microorganisms for bioconversion from pyrolysis oils to bioplastics and citric acid.