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article imageSpain: Cádiz project world-first to convert sewage into bio-fuel

By Anne Sewell     Jul 7, 2013 in Science
Chiclana - A waste-water plant in Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz will be first in the world to convert sewage into clean fuel to be used in vehicles. Under the project, dubbed All-gas, the plant is using sunlight to create algae, which in turn is converted to gas.
The project is part of a €12 million plan to produce alternative energies and reduce Spain’s reliance on foreign oil.
Factories and mills have produced waste-water gas for their own energy needs for some time now. However, All-gas is the first to produce the bio-fuel with the intention of exporting it for the purpose of powering vehicles.
“Nobody has done the transformation from waste-water to bio-fuel, which is a sustainable approach,” said All-gas project leader Frank Rogalla.
“Carbon dioxide is used to produce algae biomass, and the green sludge is transformed into gas, a clean biofuel commonly used in buses or garbage trucks because it is less polluting," he added.
The waste-water plant is owned by the water company, Aqualia, and is still in its pilot phase at just 200 square meters.
As the process requires a lot of sun, Chiclana de la Frontera was a perfect choice, with its southern Andalucian location. However, another 300 small towns have also been pin-pointed as suitable for additional sites in the future, as the project grows.
By 2015, All-gas plans to be producing €100,000 of bio-fuel annually, on 10 hectares of land (equivalent to 10 football fields), which would be enough to power 200 cars or 10 trucks for the year.
While researchers have stated that it may be years before algae bio-fuel is economically viable on a large scale, they do admit that the project will be able to replace a portion of Spain’s petroleum use, a good cause indeed.
Rogalla is even more optimistic though, saying, “The opportunity is such that 40 million people, roughly the population of Spain, would be able to power 200,000 vehicles from just flushing their toilet!” he said. A moving statement indeed!
More about Spain, Andalucia, chiclana de la frontera, Cadiz, all gas
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