Microwave extraction technology enables to process difficult organic matrices eliminating tedious vessel cleaning steps

ACEA Municipal Energy and Environment


The ACEA Group deals with waste management, handling over 1 million tons of waste every year. Since 2006, it has been managing waste-to-energy plants, composting plants and in 2019 the company also entered the plastic treatment sector. ACEA operates two incinerators that burn waste and pulp. ACEA is also the top national operator in the water sector, serving 9 million customers in the Lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Molise and Campania regions of Italy. The laboratory gets involved in several aspects: water analysis; characterization of wastes from purification plants (exhausted sewage sludge, soils) and from incinerators (ashes, soils, slags). Moreover, it is active in the industrial emissions and environmental monitoring.


The ACEA lab performs SVOCs analysis on solid waste and it is equipped for organic pollutant testing with the latest instrumentation.
The previous adopted technique for the extraction process was Pressurized Liquid Extraction technique (PLE).
The main reason why they decided to switch to microwave assisted extraction technique was the need to reduce time per analysis and to process some of the most difficult and polluted matrices avoiding high maintenance costs and tedious cleaning steps.
From the customer voice:
“The extraction time per sample was reduced by 90% with the ETHOS X, thanks to the simplified handling and the elimination of the cleaning steps”
dr. Pier Francesco Gigliucci., lab manager @ ACEA

IMPLEMENTATION of ETHOS X with fastEX-24 rotor

The main benefits achieved by ACEA are the following:
  • Reduced extraction time. PLE is able to process 24 samples in 6 hours, while ETHOS X is able to process 24 samples in less than 1 hour.
  • Wide application range. Thanks to the robustness of the ETHOS X hardware, ACEA could process all kind of solid matrices, even those with high plastic content or highly polluted ones, eliminating any clogging problem that typically occurs with the previous sequential technique.
  • No cleaning of vials. A common and very critical issue for all sample preparation techniques is the subsequent memory effect/carry-over in the extraction cells. For instance, the stability of dioxins requires long and tedious cleaning procedures of the extraction vessels. The implementation of the fastEX-24 rotor eliminates the cleaning steps by using disposable and inexpensive glass vials as reaction vessels.

ETHOS X for organic pollutant determination

ETHOS X offers superior lab efficiency in the determination of organic pollutants with microwave green extraction technique. Typical applications include chlorinated pesticides, semi-volatile organics, PAHs, PCBs, chlorinated herbicides, phenols, organophosphorus pesticides, dioxins and furans

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"ETHOS X is capable of extracting matrices with high plastic content that could not be extracted before"