Urbaser and CLH have concluded a successful research project for obtaining fuel from plastic waste

  • Together, the companies have completed the RDI project entitled “3R2020+. From waste to resource through recycling” funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

Urbaser, a global company engaged in environmental management, and the CLH Group, international leader in oil product transportation and storage based in Spain, have concluded a successful RDI project entitled “3R2020+. From waste to resource through recycling”, which aims to assess the possibility of obtaining fuel from alternative sources. The project is part of a Cooperation Agreement signed by Urbaser, CTRUZ and Zaragoza City Council to provide support for the development of strategic circular economy concepts through demonstration projects on different scales.

The project, led by Urbaser and developed through a partnership of 7 cutting-edge companies across different sectors, has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CIEN Programme, CDTI) belonging to the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Specifically, Urbaser and CLH worked together to obtain automotive diesel fuel from plastic waste with no market value, which is currently managed at landfill sites. In order to achieve this, Urbaser developed and tested at its Technological innovation Centre “Alfonso Maíllo” (CiAM) located in Zaragoza the technical feasibility of a thermochemical process at pilot scale (TRL 7) for transforming film-type plastic from solid urban waste into diesel fuel obtained from the distillation of the liquid produced in pyrolysis.

For its part, CLH’s Central Laboratory analysed the fuel and provided the required instructions for additivation and improvement, with the purpose of obtaining a commercial-grade end product that may be used as automotive diesel fuel.

By working together closely over a period of 4 years, the two companies managed to obtain a diesel fuel that, when mixed with conventional diesel, complies with the legal specifications for Class A diesel oil (Royal Decree 1088/2010) and is suitable for vehicles. In fact, Urbaser and CLH performed a pilot test in which a municipal waste collection lorry, loaded only with this alternative fuel optimised at CLH’s Central Laboratory, provided its services as usual in the streets of Madrid.


Urbaser is a global leader in environmental management focused on sustainability and innovation that provides services to over 59 million people across 30 countries through a network of over 35,000 employees and more than 160 subsidiaries.

Currently, it is responsible for cleaning over 45k kilometres of streets in different cities around the world and for maintaining over 59 million square metres of green spaces. It operates 130 waste treatment facilities with a total of 23.2 million tonnes treated, it produces 1,847 GWh of electric power from waste and last year it prevented the emission of 5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Urbaser’s business model is based on environmental protection and respect. Through sustainable and innovative processes, it controls the consumption of natural resources, minimises waste generation and pollution.

In order to adapt to climate change, Urbaser is gradually renovating its fleet with 864 low-emissions vehicles and 469 zero-emissions vehicles. In 2019, the company prevented the emission of 1.8 tonnes of CO2 and has undertaken to reduce the intensity of scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 5% by 2022.

CLH Group

The CLH Group is the leading company engaged in the transport and storage of oil products in the Spanish market and the second largest logistics operator in Europe in terms of the extension of its pipeline network and storage capacity.

In Spain, it has a pipeline network of over 4,000 kilometres in length and 39 terminals with capacity for 8 million cubic metres, as well as being present at the main Spanish airports. At the international level, the company is developing an ambitious expansion plan and conducts its business in the UK, Oman, Ireland, Panama and Ecuador.

The CLH Group has recently reinforced its commitment to the environment with the approval of a new sustainability strategy which, in addition to measures aimed at making the company carbon-neutral by 2050, also calls for cooperation with operators in the development of eco-fuels.