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Posts Tagged ‘Sewage treatment’


Spain Turns Sewage into Energy in World First

A town on the coast of Spain has put itself on the map by becoming the first in the world to launch a plant that converts sewage into clean energy.

The Spanish sewage-to-energy project is part of a wider initiative to meet the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive to increase transport biofuels from 2.4 to 10% by 2020.

The facility in town of Chiclana de la Frontera on the Spanish coast uses wastewater and sunlight to produce algae-based biofuel—All-Gas–as part of project. And it is indeed a first.

Related article: Valero Bemoans Ethanol Biofuel Targets

“Nobody has done the transformation from wastewater to biofuel, which is a sustainable approach,” said All-Gas project leader Frank Rogalla.  

While some industries are producing biogas from wastewater for their own energy needs, All-Gas is the first to grow algae from sewage in a systematic way to produce a net export of bioenergy, including transport biofuel.

During the treatment process, the contaminants are removed while anaerobic bacteria feed on some of the waste while giving off gas which can be captured and used by the plant.

After that, algae are added to the pools of wastewater and exposed to the plentiful sunlight found in the region.

After reaching a critical mass, the algae are extracted to be processed for oil. The remaining algal biomass left behind can be used to make bio-methane, carbon dioxide and minerals.

The goal of All-Gas is to produce 3,000 kilograms of dry algae per day with an oil content of 20%. To add some perspective to things, that would be enough biodiesel to fill up about 200 cars.

For now, researchers say it could take years before algal biofuels are commercially viable; but in the end, they may eventually be able to replace some portion of petroleum.

The European Union is not alone in its sewage-to-energy ambitions. The US is working on a similar initiative.

Related article: Sweden has Run out of Rubbish for Waste-to-Energy Industry

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Florida-based Chemergy Inc plan to demonstrate a bioenergy technology that converts wastewater treatment plant byproducts into hydrogen gas to produce electricity.

The pilot will launch next month, and its leaders anticipate that in about one year the Antioch wastewater treatment plant will be processing one ton per day of wet bio-solids and up to 30 KW of electricity.

The electricity will be used to power select functions at the plant. It is expected that the project will convert wet bio-solids into hydrogen at less than $2 per kilogram making it useful both for stationary power as well as for transportation fuel.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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European perch (Perca fluviatilis)

The effect of the drug on European perch (above) was similar to its effect on people, with potential evolutionary and ecological impacts. Photograph: Alamy

Drugs to treat anxiety in people may alter the behaviour of fish when the chemicals are flushed into rivers, according to scientists. Swedish researchers found that European perch exposed to tiny concentrations of a drug became less sociable, ate more and became more adventurous – all changes in behaviour that could have unexpected ecological impacts on fish populations.

When scientists at Umeå University in Sweden screened rivers for pharmaceuticals they found that a drug for treating anxiety, called oxazepam, was accumulating in fish. Many drugs and other synthetic chemicals used by humans in everything from pesticides to cosmetics can pass through waste water treatment and end up in wildlife, potentially accumulating to toxic levels.

But until now scientists had never studied the behavioural impacts of small quantities of contaminants. Tomas Brodin led a team that mimicked in the lab the concentrations of oxazepam found in the wild – around a microgram per kilogram of fish body weight – and watched for changes in how bold, sociable and active the fish were.

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