Process

Spanish town turning sewage into clean energy

June 27, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Aqualia’s All-gas project researcher Mara Laureano carries two Imhoff cones with water samples from a tank at a wastewater treatment plant in Chiclana de la Frontera, near Cadiz, in southern Spain.

Aqualia’s All-gas project researcher Mara Laureano carries two Imhoff cones with water samples from a tank at a wastewater treatment plant in Chiclana de la Frontera, near Cadiz, in southern Spain. Credit: Reuters/Jon Nazca

Is a Spanish resort town with sprawling golf courses and tree-lined beaches the world’s first plant to convert sewage into clean energy? A facility in Chiclana de la Frontera, on the southwest tip of Spain, is using wastewater and sunlight to produce algae-based biofuel as part of a 12 million euro ($15.7 million) project to pursue alternative energies and reduce reliance on foreign oil.

The project in Chiclana, called All-gas (which sounds like “algas” – seaweed, in Spanish) claims to be the first municipal wastewater plant using cultivated algae as a source for biofuel. While industries such as breweries or paper mills have produced biogas from wastewater for their own energy needs, All-gas is the first to grow algae from sewage in a systematic way to produce a net export of bioenergy, including vehicle biofuel.

“Nobody has done the transformation from wastewater to biofuel, which is a sustainable approach,” said All-gas project leader Frank Rogalla. Carbon dioxide is used to produce algae biomass, and the green sludge is transformed into methane gas, for buses or garbage trucks.

All-gas’ owner Aqualia is the world’s third largest private water company. It is owned by Spanish infrastructure firm FCC, which is betting on its environmental services business to relieve pain from a domestic construction downturn. While energy efficiency projects have gained pace in other European countries, Spain has been held back by a budget gap that was at the center of concerns that the country would need an international bailout last year.

The All-gas project is three-fifths financed by the European Union FP7 program to determine the effectiveness of the methane produced from algae-derived biomass in cars and trucks.

The Chiclana plant, still in a pilot phase and 200 square meters in size, harvested its first crop of algae last month and expects to fuel its first car by December. All-gas expects it to be fully up and running by 2015, when it aims for 3,000 kg of algae on 10 hectares of land – enough, they estimate, to generate biofuel to run about 200 cars or 10 city garbage trucks a year.

But whether the project is able to fuel cars on a large scale will depend on the amount and quality of bioethanol it can eventually produce, and at what cost.

Chiclana, which relies on tourism and salt-processing fields for its livelihood, was chosen for the site because of its ample sunlight and a long stretch of land that runs along oceanside salt fields where algae can be easily grown in man-made ponds.

The All-gas model has drawn interest from other efficiency-minded municipalities in southern Spain with populations between 20,000 and 100,000 and with enough land to develop the algal ponds, said Rogalla, who has identified at least 300 small towns where such projects could work.

Aqualia has also had contact with Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and a French company over the possibility of building and operating similar water treatment plants under a concession.

– Reuters – Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Pravin Char

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) released the following statement calling on the EPA to include Carbon Capture and Utilization strategies in rules proposed June 2, 20...
A new, outdoor system at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been producing a high volume of algae since its installation in the summer of 2013, even through ...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
The Guardian reports that Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada-based Solarvest has created an inventive system utilizing a specific algal strain to grow and produce EPA ...
Kyae Mone Win reports in the Myanmar Times that spirulina has been harvested from Twin Daung lake in Sagaing’s Bu Ta Lin township for over a decade, but climate change an...
A recent discovery in the multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri,has revealed the origin of male and female sexes, showing how they evolved from a more primitive mating...
Biofuels derived from the oils produced by algae may offer a low-cost sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. To achieve this goal, optimization of cost effective strate...
Perth, Western Australia-based Algae.Tec Limited has announced that the Reliance Group has converted the first tranche of options following the positive progress achieved...
Matthew Carr was recently named executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the leading trade association for the algae industry. His presence will soon b...
Phys.Org reports that scientists Jolanda Verspagen and Jef Huisman of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands have concluded that rising CO2 concentrations in the at...
The EPA has released the Annual Use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report. We now know that American farmers apply roughly a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally in...
Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement f...
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume a leadership position in the algae biofuel field. The state is home to two national algae testbe...
On September 25, 2014, a photobioreactor for the cultivation of algae was officially unveiled during a seminar at Thomas More University College in Mechelen, Belgium. Und...
Iran-based Qeshm Microalgae Biorefinery Co. (QMAB) has launched a biofuel being marketed as BAYA®, produced from a species of Nannochloropsis (strain 6016) isolated from ...
Most Americans get plenty of protein, primarily from animal products including meat, eggs and milk. But for many, ensuring a healthy protein intake can be challenging. In...
Tess Riley writes in TheGuardian.com about how spirulina may be able to combat malnutrition in developing countries. Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth, c...
Allan Koay writes in thestar.com about a Universiti Malaya research project paving the way for the commercial production of paper pulp and bioethanol from seaweed. The Al...