The main goal of the ALG-AD project is to develop an innovative solution combining algal and anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies in order to reduce and reuse waste stream nutrients derived from the food/farm waste.
North-West Europe (NWE) is a highly populated agricultural area, which produces a large amount of animals and vegetable food waste each year. In order to reduce food and farm waste, the AD technology is used. AD converts the waste to biogas energy and a liquid nutrient rich digestate (NRD). In the NWE there are around 2000 AD facilities, each producing 4,000-70,000 t/year of NRD returned to land as a biofertilizer. Nevertheless, strict limits are imposed in the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones NVZs (European Nitrate Directive 91/676/EEC) restricting return of NRD to land to prevent eutrophication pollution. Much of NWE land, falls within NVZs (58% in the UK; 100% in Brittany & Flanders) creating an excess NRD. Considering that the NRD production is expanding, new solutions are urgently needed.
In this scenario, the ALG-AD project will develop an integrated algal-AD technology, where the NRD will be used as a free source of nutrients for algal cultivation for the production of animal/fish feed. The technology will be implemented and tested at three sites in the NWE territory (Devon [UK], Brittany [FR], and Flanders [BE]) that process different types of biodegradable waste in different local scenarios and regulatory landscapes.
ITAS, together with the Birmingham University, will develop a decision-support tool used for feedback and to inform and guide the waste industry, farmers and investors to aid roll out. The two project partners are responsible for the life cycle and techno-economic assessment, and they will work together to determine key parameters for the Geographic Information System (GIS) based map tool.