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Biogas production from microalgae-bacteria consortia grown in closed photobioreactors for wastewater treatment

Total activity: 7
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
118.580,00 €
Start date
End date
FOTOBIOGAS is a subproject of the coordinated project EDARSOL.
The objective of EDARSOL project is to develop sustainable wastewater treatment processes using microalgae and bacteria consortia, in
order to transform contaminants from wastewater (C, N, P, etc.) into valuable products (fertilizers, biogas), while regenerating wastewater
for subsequent reuse. The goal is to develop a portfolio of tools to ease the implementation of these processes in a more efective and
safer way.
It is mandatory to develop more efficient processes capable of achieving the discharge water quality imposed by European Regulations,
Directive 91/271/CE, while consuming less energy and enhancing nutrients recovery like nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.
Conventional activated sludge processes transform wastewater contaminants into non-valuable products as N2 and CO2, while consuming
large amounts of energy (0.5-1.0 kWh/m3). Using microalgae-bacteria consortia for wastewater treatment it is possible to (1) reduce power
consumption to 0.10 kWh/m3, (2) recover nitrogen from wastewater (nitrogen fertilizer production requires 10-15 kWh/m3), (3) alliviate
phosphorus depletion by recovering P from wastewater, (4) minimize CO2 emissions from conventional wastewater treatment systems,
and (5) produce valuable products as biofertilizers and biogas.
EDARSOL project aims at developing a process with a wastewater treatment capacity of 0.1 m3/m2day (with reduced hydraulic retention
time of possibly 1-2 days) and a biomass productivity of 30 g/m2day, with a net energy production of 0.5 MJ/m2day, a specific power
consumption lower than 0.1 kWh/m3, and a nutrient recovery capacity of 60 gCO2/m2day, 2.4 gN/m2day and 0.3 gP/m2day. Microalgae
based technologies are especially suitable for small and medium communities due to surface requirements.
High rate algal ponds for wastewater treatment have been developed since the 70s. However, current systems show poor efficiency and
excessive surface requirement, as well as insufficient biomass separation from the final effluent and valorisation. Thus, EDARSOL project
aims at developing novel technologies for wastewater treatment on the basis of better understanding biological systems, optimizing the
design and operation of photobioreactors, as well as biomass recovery and valorisation processes. The objective is to develop integrated
processes to enhance the viability and sustainability of wastewater treatment. To this end, a multidisciplinary research group has been
created, including biochemists and engineers with large experience on microalgae biotechnology and wastewater treatment, biofertilizers
and biogas production. This research group is supported by an ecologist society and several companies interested in the industrial
application of developed technologies.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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