Since 2010 this facility has been the site of the FP7 All-Gas project to obtain biofuel from the cultivation of microalgae in wastewater, through a European consortium led by Spain’s Aqualia. Photo: Aqualia reports that the All-Gas project in the El Torno treatment plant in Chiclana, in southwestern Spain, in the province of Cádiz, has started its demonstration phase. The project, supported by the European Union, has now completed the objectives and stages set from the start of the project in 2010, producing quality biogas that is currently being tested in a variety of vehicles.

The All-Gas project aims to demonstrate the large-scale production of biofuels based on the cultivation of low-cost microalgae. The results of the project’s phases have demonstrated that All-Gas is a clear example of a circular economy, as a waste (the dirty water) is converted sustainably into raw materials with added value, in an innovative and environmentally-friendly process.

All-Gas is a collaboration among companies and institutions, including Germany’s Fraunhofer – Gesellschaft, University of Southampton, Hygear B.V. of the Netherlands, BDI Bio Energy International from Austria, and Spain’s Aqualia. Aqualia leads the consortium, with this project becoming a driving force for their development of leading-edge technology.

The full chain of processes from algal ponds to biomass separation, processing for downstream biofuel production and purification, as well as the use in vehicles, are being implemented at a four ha site. The algae, in line with the project’s target, yield close to 100 t/ha/yr, obtained by integrating and upscaling innovative systems to double algal yields or decreasing energy consumption with novel raceway design.

Algae oils are processed by a consortium partner to demonstrate its use at a motor test bed. The residual algae are digested, together with wastewater, in order to produce biogas and CO2. The biogas is purified and compressed to serve as vehicle fuel, with an estimated yield for 20 cars (roughly equivalent or superior to the potential fueled by liquids) per hectare of cultivation.

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