he process of de-icing aircrafts leaves wastewater that contains glycol. Some years ago, Schiphol, in the Netherlands, experimented with algae to break down this type of wastewater in an environmentally friendly manner.
In the pilot project, the water containing glycol was treated over a period of two years in an aerobic treatment system – a 1000 m2 algae bath. The aim was to study whether the use of algae is a sustainable and cost-effective way of processing de-icing fluid.
Carried out during the winters of 2009 and 2010, the original pilot project demonstrated that, although it is possible to treat wastewater that contains glycol by using algae, this can not yet take place at Schiphol in a cost-effective manner.
Thanks to some new developments, the pilot project is now to be followed up. In collaboration with Tata Steel and the IMARES Research Institute, Schiphol will explore whether there now exists a profitable business case. For the new pilot project, not only Schiphol’s glycol-containing water will be used, but also the CO2 that is emitted in the steel production process at Tata Steel.
The study is being carried out by the IMARES Research Institute, which is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre. In previous tests, IMARES demonstrated that algae that were grown using wastewater, are suitable as food for young fish and shellfish.