MITICO: A project financed in the framework of POR FESR Toscana 2014-2020

The MITICO project is aimed at developing a new class of tanning agents for the production of metal-free leather, starting from raw material from waste rich in sugars, and engineering their production process. The idea of the project comes from the necessity of tanning industries of the Tuscan district to align themselves more and more with the technological directives and market rules which they intend to pursue to improve in terms of product quality and production processes, so that they become more and more ecologically sustainable.
The product put forward comes from solid scientific bases developed through partnerships and has led to the recent registration of a patent for the finalisation of a tanning product, that is aldehyde Hydroxy-methyl furfural (HMF) synthesised in water. It proposes the study and engineering of its production process and provides for the use of waste by-products from the sugar industry which is consequently an example of circular economy. Another important innovative element is the use of an ultrasonic reactor for the synthesis of the tanning agent. The reactor allows setting up of a production system prototype with a highly automated control system which enables self-adjustment of the process conditions in relation to the sugar composition of molasses and maximises the yield of tanning agents.

Everywave has designed a 1-litre flow cell reactor with a 20kHz ultrasound system and a “Cascatrode” sonotrode, that is a rod with rings with which very high vibration amplitudes in the vicinity of the sonotrode. This means sufficient pressures for catalysing even complex chemical reactions.
They are designed with acoustic-structural FEM modelling:

  • High-performance 20 kHz ultrasonic transducer and booster;
  • Sonotrode with tuned rings for maximum cavitation in the reaction chamber;
  • Tuned reactor chamber.

Manufacturing of “metal-free” tanning agents