A small resort town on Spain’s Atlantic coast is now home to the world’s first sewage-to-algae fuel facility. This European Union backed demonstration project was built to showcase the potential for algae to convert wastewater into vehicle grade fuel.
The €12 million, 10 hectare facility is called All-Gas, a nod to the Spanish word algas, which means seaweed, and is expected to be able to produce around 3,000 kg of dry algae per day.
While many have converted waste to energy, All-Gas project leader Frank Rogalla says that “Nobody has done the transformation from wastewater to biofuel.”
The five-year project is coordinated by the global water management giant Aqualia, which has also had contact with Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and a French company about the possibility of building and operating similar water treatment plants.
All-Gas says its sewage plant is more than 2 million euros less expensive to set up and run than a conventional sewage plant.
Based on the amount of wastewater disposed of in Spain, Rogalla believes there is a major opportunity. He says: “40 million people, roughly the population of Spain, would be able to power 200,000 vehicles from just flushing their toilet!”
Not only does the process utilize an otherwise wasted resource but the process actually cleans the water, reducing the strain on wastewater treatment facilities. This process was discussed on ABO’s recent webinar on the potential for salt and wastewater resources to be used for growing algae.
The All-Gas demonstration project is yet another example of the variety of resources and end products that can be produced sustainably from algae.