Using Sewage To Grow Algae To Produce Biofuel

A plant at the southern tip of Spain is the first to purposely cultivate algae from wastewater in order to create clean gas for garbage trucks and other vehicles.

What's the Latest Development?


The Spanish resort town of Chiclana de la Frontera can now lay claim to the world's first municipal sewage plant that purposely uses wastewater to grow algae that is then converted into clean biofuel. Carbon dioxide from sewage produces the algae, the first crop of which was harvested last month. The resulting biomass will be made into vehicle fuel, which should be ready for use by December. Right now the plant is still in a pilot stage and fairly small, but plans are to have it fully operational by 2015, growing enough algae and producing enough fuel to run about 200 cars a year.

What's the Big Idea?

Plants in other industries have generated biogas from wastewater for internal use, but All-gas is the first to systematically cultivate algae from sewage to create a fuel for outside use. The plant is reported to be much cheaper to build and run than a conventional sewage plant, which is good news in a country that's been hard hit by the European financial crisis. It remains to be seen whether All-gas will be able to provide fuel on a large scale, but other small towns in Spain have expressed interest in building similar plants.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Scientific American

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