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Barcelona’s urban transport, an innovative urban laboratory against COVID-19 financed by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology led by Ferrovial

Buses and metros in Barcelona have been selected for the tests of the CD-Clean EIT Urban mobility project to apply a vaporised disinfectant solution with a long-lasting effect. This solution represents an ecological alternative to conventional disinfectants, reducing the environmental impact.


 CD-Clean Urban Mobility COVID-19 PARTNERSHIP MEETING (CUM-19) in Barcelona


The headquarters of the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) hosted the kick-off meeting of the CD-Clean Urban Mobility COVID-19 project. The purpose was to define the methodology and elements of public transport to be analysed in the laboratory and thus check the efficiency of the disinfectant solution. The European project CD-Clean Urban Mobility COVID-19 is one of the 10 projects approved by the EIT URBAN MOBILITY in the extraordinary call for proposals of 5 million euros against the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, led by Ferrovial, through its subsidiary Ditecpesa, involves companies and organizations from Spain, Belgium and Poland such as Ferrovial, Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), Transports Metropolitans of Barcelona (TMB), Innovation Centre for Intelligent Infrastructures and the Finnova foundation. The approved projects aim to provide innovative solutions to prevent and adapt to COVID-19 and to regain confidence in public transport and mobility, which has lost an average of 40% of users among European Union countries.

The CD-Clean project’s goal is to demonstrate the application of an aqueous solution with maximised antiseptic effect for the disinfection and protection of public spaces such as public transport, against the spread of the virus. The goal is to facilitate people’s daily life activities without putting their health at risk.

The solution and its innovative application by vaporization and misting are the technical basis of the partnerhip led by Ferrovial, through its subsidiary Ditecpesa, which is based on a process of open innovation combining at the technological level the capabilities of startups in the chemical and microbiological fields, respectively. José Javier García Pardenilla of Ferrovial-Ditecpesa, the driving force behind the idea and leader of the project, stated that “this is a project that began in March of this year with the premises of achieving an efficient product that can be industrialised in a short time, at a viable cost and with a generalised application in public spaces”.

The selected users in the pilot test are the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and the Transports Metropolitans of Barcelona, whose function is to validate and apply the solution. They will also participate in the definition of the elements to carry out the verification tests and in the work of extracting the elements to be taken to the laboratories, where the effectiveness of this solution will be checked as the test runs over the periods of 1, 3, 5 and 7 days.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, TMB “has worked constantly to adopt the most effective methods and technologies for the sanitation of vehicles and stations in its networks”, stresses TMB’s Managing Director, Gerardo Lertxundi, “in line with making public transport a safe space to meet the mobility needs of citizens in a sustainable manner”.

The international partner in this project is the Belgian foundation Finnovaregio, whose aim is to give CD-Clean international exposure, informing and inspiring from Brussels, the capital of Europe, about the existence of more efficient and environmental methods of cleaning public transport spaces. Juanma Revuelta, CEO of the Finnovaregio Foundation, said after the meeting: “CD-CLEAN is an example of international public-private partnership, a collaboration that offers a globally scalable innovation to the challenge of efficient, economical and environmentally friendly disinfection”.

Finnovaregio will also be responsible for identifying and analysing European legislation on the cleaning of public spaces and how new instruments can be generated through legal and administrative tools. These will enable the public sector to provide incentives and assessment in proposed public contracts that include innovative and environmentally sustainable solutions for preventing and combating COVID-19.

The partnership of the CD-Clean project, started last July and will be implemented in airports, bus, metro and train stations all over Europe from January 2021. Its commitment is to both the health crisis and urban mobility, as well as the climate emergency.


The CD-Clean Urban Mobility COVID19 project is committed to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG Number 3 of UN-Health and Wellness:


Once the aqueous solution adheres to the surface, the non-release reduces the harmful effects of both contact and inhalation and improves protection.  It will also help contain the spread of the virus with the social benefits, such as regaining confidence in public spaces, and health globally.


SDG Number 8 of United Nations-Dignified Employment and Economic Growth:


By reducing chemicals that are harmful to health, cleaning workers are less exposed to physical contact and exhalation. In addition, an effective and lasting effect due to the prolonged adhesion of the biocide means a reduction in the frequency of application and therefore less consumption of resources dedicated to this function. Finally, ensuring the protection of public spaces against viricidal and bacterial agents will allow the reactivation of the local business by protecting employment.


United Nations SDG Number 6 – Drinking Water and Sanitation: 


CD-CLEAN URBAN MOBILITY is an innovative project that minimises the chemical impact on wastewater by improving the performance of urban water treatment processes.


SDG Number 7 of United Nations – Affordable Energy 


Reducing water use and efficient water treatment reduces the energy needs of treatment plants.


UN SDG Number 9 – Innovation and Infrastructure and UN SDG Number 17 – Partnerships for Achieving Goals


The COVID-19 CD-Clean Urban Mobility project consists of a public and private partnership, with open innovation that has combined startups, with a global corporate such as Ferrovial-Ditecpesa and together with public entities such as the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona. The aim of this partnership is to search, with EU funds, for an innovative, environmental, COVID19 free, scalable and inspiring solution for mobility infrastructures such as bus, metro, airport and train stations.


SDG Number 13 of the United Nations – Combating Climate Change


The proposed solution will have a positive impact on the environment. The long-lasting adherence to surfaces by means of specific chemical bonds conceives it as having a strategic environmental value with respect to the other approved products normally used (highly harmful and based on highly toxic components such as chlorides) as it avoids the need for continuous application of the treatment, reduces vapours that affect the quality of the air, its toxicity is almost nil and it does not migrate into the natural environment and especially into the water.


Who are they?  


EIT Urban Mobility:

It is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) based in Barcelona, Spain.  Since its creation in January 2019, the EIT Urban Mobility has been working to promote positive changes in the way people move around cities in order to make them more liveable. Last June it launched a 5-million-euro European call for proposals to fund 10 innovation projects related to COVID-19.



It is one of the main global infrastructure operators, committed to the development of sustainable solutions. The company is listed on the IBEX 35, forms part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good, and applies the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, signed by the company in 2002, to all its operations.

Ditecpesa, leads this innovative project and is the one who has joined the efforts of startups through its open promotion.


Finnovaregio Foundation:

Belgian foundation that supports the funding of innovation in companies, regions and municipalities. Its areas of expertise are technology transfer and innovation in sustainable development, the circular economy, water and waste management, employment and youth, ICT and tourism. In this project, Finnovaregio is in charge of the communication and legal dimension.


Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (MAB):    

This is the public administration of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, a large urban conurbation made up of a total of 36 municipalities.  It is responsible for coordinating the pilot tests within the metro and bus network of the city of Barcelona.


Transports Metropolitans of Barcelona (TMB):

It is the main public transport operator in Catalonia and a true reference point for transport and citizen mobility companies in Europe and throughout the world. Together with the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, it coordinates the pilot tests of CD-Clean, providing its facilities and means of transport for the first tests outside the laboratory.