The City of Culture hosted the final conference of the project, led by Cetaqua Galicia, after three years of research to recover wastewater and by-products from the canning industry
The Conserval Poctep project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-Portugal programme (POCTEP), held its final conference in Santiago de Compostela on 15 March. During the event “Towards a circular canning industry”, a consortium led by Cetaqua Galicia presented the results obtained in order to valorise solid and liquid residues from fish processing into products with higher added value and business potential, such as volatile fatty acids, fish oils rich in omega 3 and protein hydrolysates.
Research conducted since April 2019 and industrial-scale trials in Galicia and northern Portugal have led to the application for a new patent and the identification of four technically viable waste streams for obtaining volatile fatty acids. These are valuable compounds for industries such as plastics, paints and lubricants.
As for fish by-products (heads, skins and bones), protein hydrolysates were obtained, reaching a protein extraction yield of 70%, and bioactivities were found in these products such as antioxidant, liver-protective and antihypertensive properties. The extraction of the fish oil was also carried out by applying supercritical fluid technology, which allowed for the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids to be increased by 50% compared to the original raw material oil.
The results presented were due to the collaboration of the National Association of Fish and Seafood Canning Manufacturers (ANFACO-CECOPESCA), the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), the Foundation Enterprise-University of Galicia (FEUGA), the University of Porto and the Portuguese Association of Canned Fish Manufacturers (ANICP), with the coordination of Cetaqua Galicia. The complete agenda is available here.
The main players gathered in Santiago
The final event brought together the most important players of the sector. From the public sector, Rosa Quintana, Minister of the Sea for the Regional Government of Galicia, opened the meeting. The round table also had the presence of Mercedes Rodríguez Moreda, Director of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Technological Innovation for the Regional Ministry of the Sea, Leticia Regueiro, Head of Sustainability and Circular Economy at ANFACO, Roberto Alonso, Director of CLUSAGA and Josefa de León, vice-president of VIRATEC. Professor Juan Lema, Professor of Chemical Engineering at USC, acted as moderator. The conversation focused on the presence or absence of projects such as CONSERVAL and circular economy processes in the industry, as well as on the importance of collaboration between the three leading forces at the round table (public management, research and private sector) to lead society towards a more sustainable future. The event was closed by Teresa Alvariño, Director of Cetaqua Galicia, which will give continuity to this promising project and bring new technologies closer to the production sector, in its commitment towards a circular economy. If you missed the event and/or want to see it again, you can watch it in full here.