TecnoGrabber® retention baskets installed along the Jarama River in Madrid


The environmental awareness concerning the troublesome accumulation of waste in rivers and seas is on the rise in our society. The local and international impact achieved by the TecnoGrabber® systems, developed by TecnoConverting Engineering, is a manifestation of this awareness.  The TecnoGrabber® systems were developed with the aim of safeguarding our rivers and marine ecosystems, and since their creation, they have been implemented in several European countries.

Since the pilot tests began in Sabadell in 2020, TecnoConverting has been unwavering in the expansion of TecnoGrabber® installations across multiple European cities, preventing large-volume waste from reaching the environment. Upon its launch, TecnoGrabber® garnered recognition from various online platforms, solidifying its position as one of the top fifteen best inventions of 2020 on a global scale.

Present Challenges

The existing model of sewage networks contributes to a pressing challenge.  During episodes of heavy rainfall, the sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants generate intolerable surges, leading to the discharge of pollutants into rivers and subsequently, the oceans. This process drags accumulated solids from the collectors, originating from both street litter and improper disposal down toilets – including items like wet wipes, cotton pads, plastic bags, earbuds, condoms and tampons.

Certainly, such mismanagement leads to unpleasant scenes, such as wet wipes hanging from trees and other vegetation alongside rivers. 

Plastic is one of the main types of waste entering our rivers and seas. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that oceans receive about 13 million tonnes of plastic every year and rivers are the main conduits of this plastic waste into the seas.

The global campaign to control plastic waste is one of the fastest growing environmental causes in recent years. However, it has not been enough to make a significant dent in the increasing tonnage of discarded plastic ending up in our oceans.

Pollution associated with a discharge point due to overflowing of the sewage system during rainfall events along the Jarama River, Madrid.

TecnoGrabber® technology as a palliative measure

The Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge in Spain recommends TecnoGrabber retention systems.

Within the framework of the 2030 agenda, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has allocated many of its resources to promote actions to combat climate change. With this goal in mind, it has highlighted and recommended the best solutions to address the various threats to our ecosystems. Among these solutions are the TecnoGrabber® retention systems, which come in three formats:

TecnoGrabber® clamps empty and full of waste.

The TecnoGrabber® clamps: Tilting gratings with stainless steel bars and hooks at the top, which allow the retention of waste even in the most difficult access areas. They consist of two rows of clamps, once the first one is filled, it is pushed forward and the second row is raised to catch new solids arriving at the spillway.

The TecnoGrabber® deflector for galleries and the TecnoGrabber® retaining collars:  Both solutions are equipped with one or more meshes for the collection and retention of solids. All of them are custom-made for clients according to the diameter of the collector or the width of the gallery where they need to be installed.

Deflector with empty and full meshes in Madrid.

All TecnoGrabber® systems are easy to install and are made of the highest quality, stainless steel, thus ensuring maximum durability of the equipment. The braided meshes are of high tenacity and are able to expand and absorb large amounts of residues without breaking. A 300mm diameter mesh with a length of 2 metres is capable of holding up to 300 kg of waste per rainfall event.

Successful cases

In the locality of Rubí, in Spain, there was a significant presence of wipes in the environment, so they needed to address this issue. Since the installation of the TecnoGrabber® systems in 2022, the nets have already been removed 5 times, and a total of more than 2.5 tonnes of waste has been collected.

Full nets in Rubí, Spain. Retrieved from www.rubi.cat

In the city of Sabadell, after having our systems installed for a year, the 3 retention baskets have been changed a total of 9 times with each full basket retaining around 300 kg of waste. The total amount of waste retained and prevented from being dumped into the environment has been 2.7 tonnes.

Another case is Sant Feliu de Llobregat, where 2 clamps and a deflector with 14 nets have been installed at a large overflow point. The clamps help retain larger waste, and the retention baskets retain the rest of the smaller waste. At this point, it is expected to retain more than 4.2 tonnes of waste.

Tecnograbber® systems filled with waste in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain.

In the municipality of Aspe, Alicante, a pioneer in initiatives aimed at preserving and protecting the environment, collection baskets with 7 retention nets were installed, preventing waste from ending up in the Tarafa River. At this point, it is estimated that more than 2.5 tonnes of waste have been retained in their first removal. 

Recent installations

This summer, TecnoConverting has supplied and installed 3 TecnoGrabber® systems in confined spaces along the Ebro Riber, in collaboration with Ecociudad Zaragoza. These innovative crescent-shaped systems complement the installation of 4 TecnoGrabber® systems carried out in July of the previous year as a pilot test in Zaragoza. The successful results of this pilot test have demonstrated the systems’ effectiveness in protecting the Ebro River and preventing solid waste pollution.

Another installation has been completed at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. The system consists of a deflector with 9 retention baskets and a small system with a rectangular-shaped basket. In total, these installations have an estimated retention capacity of 4.1 tonnes of waste.  

This same year, 2023, an installation of five retention systems in the sewer network of Igualada was completed. These systems consist of 4 collars with their mesh and a deflector with 7 retention baskets. The estimated retention capacity of all the systems is 4.1 tonnes. 

TecnoGrabber® monitoring kit for overflow channels

Monitoring the condition of waste retention baskets during rain episodes is of vital importance to ensure proper maintenance. In order to address this need, TecnoConverting Engineering has developed the TecnoGrabber® Kit, an innovative solution that allows real-time monitoring of the state of retention baskets through surveillance cameras.

The TecnoGrabber® Kit has been designed to provide operators with the ability to remotely and accurately monitor the filling of retention nets during rain episodes. The monitoring cameras are completely self-sufficient and wireless, which means they have the capacity to operate independently using solar energy or a rechargeable battery. This monitoring system is ideal for hard-to-reach areas and confined spaces.