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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2011-1 | Award Amount: 1.35M | Year: 2011

Microalgae has been researched and cultivated commercially for human and animal nutrition, for cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications, for biofuels and biomass production, for wastewater treatment and to some extent for greenhouse gas abatement. The production for the microalgal biomass market today alone generates a turnover of 1.25 billion US$ per year (0.94 billion /yr) while the total algal world market is about 7-7.5 billion US$ per year (5.2-5.7 billion /yr) and is growing, with European Union being home to 30% of this worlds algae market activity. The most critical challenge faced by all algae growers is harvesting. Harvesting is expensive and energy intensive. A group of European SMEs (Salsnes, Asio and Inwatec) has decided to work together to capture a part of the global algae harvesting equipment market. The objective is to develop a universal algae harvesting technology by building on their experiences gained from removing particles from wastewater and by modifying wastewater treatment technologies to harvest algae. Salsnes Water to Algae Treatment (SWAT) technology will use a flocculator followed by a Salsnes Filter to harvest algae. Two RTDs (Aquateam and HERI) will carry out research and development to achieve the objective. Two test sites have been chosen (IGV in Germany and Aqualia in Spain) to test the SWAT technology. The SWAT technology will result in 95% algae recovery, 40% lower costs than the best state of the art technologies (Centrifuge and Dissolved Air Flotation) and energy consumption < 0.08 kWh/m3 of algae. The consortium will explore the SWAT technology in the growing biofuel market (which has a projection of 1.6 billion US$ or 1.2 billion Euros by 2015) and then in other algae markets.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2010.3.4-1 | Award Amount: 11.77M | Year: 2011

This project will demonstrate on large scale the sustainable production of bio-fuels based on low-cost microalgae cultures. The full chain of processes from algal ponds to biomass separation, processing for oil and other chemicals extraction, and downstream biofuel production, as well as the use in vehicles, will be implemented on a 10 ha site. Depending on the methodology chosen during the research phase of the project, and the sustainability analysis, the most suitable site for the objectives will be selected, among a number of selected locations in the South of Spain (Chiclana, Almeria, Sevilla, Arcos, Canary Islands) Wastewater influent and nutrients will be re-used to stimulate algae growth. The extracted oils will be processed at an existing biodiesel plant (capacity 6000 t/yr of used oils), designed by a consortium partner, which can be converted at reasonable cost. The specified algae yield of 100 t/ha/yr will be obtained by integrating and upscaling innovative systems to double algal yields. With a net oil content of 20 %, enough biodiesel yearly to run close to 200 cars is expected. The residual algae will be digested together with the wastewater solids in order to produce biogas and CO2. The biogas will be purified and compressed to serve as vehicle fuel for a number of cars equivalent or superior to the ones fuelled by liquids. To reach the enhanced algal yield, additional CO2 will be obtained by the thermal transformation of external biomass (i.e, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant located in the area), together with internal biomass( digestate from residual algae and wastewater solids), to generate flue-gas as heating source for drying the biomass previous to Combustion. The options to transform the excess thermal energy generated into electricity to power the systems will be analysed for financial and technical viability. As some key process elements have not yet been proven on industrial scale, the technical risks will be limited by an initial prototype phase. During these initial 2 -3 years, the whole chain will be built and operated with each unit in its maximum size for instance, two ponds systems of 1000 to 2000 m2 linked to the respective harvesting, processing and digestion. The prototype as well as the future full-scale facility will be investigated for environmental and social impacts in order to maximize sustainability. These results and specific diffusion efforts will allow extrapolation to other sites.

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