Ecologic Olive Press
ELVA Olive Press is the first ecologic olive press operating in Greece. Its eco-innovative character is systemic, addressing a almost every stage of the production process: it covers its energy needs exclusively from renewable energy sources; the produced waste, both in liquid and solid form, is turned into compost which is sold in the market; while for heating purposes it uses the core of the olive.
Elva Olive Press (established near the city of Chania, Crete) is based on a technology developed, in collaboration with Eco-Organic Ltd., at the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Environmental Engineering - Department of Chemical Engineering, of the NTUA. The laboratory has been working for many years on methods of processing and exploitation of olive waste. The result of this research is an integrated technology that solves the problem of treatment and disposal of olive wastewater in an environmentally sound manner. The olive wastewater produced from the opression of the olives, is being led to an oxidation unit where it is being processed. The method is based on the detoxification of the olive wastewater using the Fenton oxidation processes; the latter use ferrous iron and hydrogen peroxide and make the olive waste free from toxic elements by converting it from a hardly biodegradable waste, into a friendly subject for microbial action. The treated waste is absorbed in its entirety in a process of intense aerobic composting, with the rest of the olive press products (olive leaves) giving a high quality compost, ideal for organic farming.
The process produces compost, which has already been introduced to the market in 30kg packages. The compost's brand name is "Humo-olea". It is purely herbal, coming from the overhead portion of the olive tree. Humo-olea is an aerobic compost, fully stabilized and mature, with high rates of germination and has been approved for use in organic agriculture. It is a high-graded compost without pathogenic imp seeds , hormones, antibiotics and impurities, with large numbers of beneficial microorganisms and interesting fauna of endemic species of predatory mites. The purity allows different uses, such as making compost tea, which is very efficient in the development of the root system of the plants with very low cost. So far it has been used in several cultivations with excellent results. Although a marketing and promotion strategy has not yet been implemented, Homo-olea has already won a share of the market, mainly because of its excellent quality and the environmental objective that serves .
Barriers and Drivers
Market demand: The eco-innovative olive press provides a solution to the significant problems facing the 550 olive press factories operating on the island of Crete (and the many more operating in other areas in Greece and abroad) as regards the solid and liquid residues of olive processing.
Green ethics: The invetors were morivated by the pressing need to solve pollution problems related with the liquid residues coming from the oil production process.
Lack of awareness/sensitisation and know-how: Competent Authorities were not aware of the composting process and the results that it can achieve, hence delayed the issuance of an operation permit for the new olive press.
This ecological technology is economically viable: Homo-olea has already won a share of the compost market, although a relevant marketing and promotion strategy has not yet been implemented; the core of the olive is used to cover heating needs, while further energy demand is covered by renewable energy sources. Moreover, the electricity produced by RES on ELVA Olive Press exceeds the current consumption needs of the installation, thus providing the investors with an extra revenue.
The systemic eco-innovation of the ELVA olive press, encouraged a change in the mentality of entrepreneurs in the sector towards more environment friendly production. So far, 3 more olive press units have applied this technology, one of which in a 2-phase installation.
The produced compost has already been welcomed by the market and with a targeted marketing strategy it is expected to deploy even more efficiently.
All the liquid residues from the process of olives are being ecologically treated.
The required energy for the operation of the installation is being supplied by photovoltaic panels with a total capacity of 80 KW. For that reason, no fossil fuels are being used during the olive processing.
The use of the produced compost reduces fertilizers and pesticides, while makes better use of irrigation and addresses the problem of desertification of soils, which affects various parts of the country.