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BIOTEK2021-Bioteknologi for verdiskaping

KSP: Cost-effective algae technology to promote circular economy development of Norwegian wastewater treatment plants

Alternative title: Kostnadseffektiv algeteknologi for utvikling av sirkulær økonomi i norske renseanlegg

Awarded: NOK 18.0 mill.

Project Number:


Project Period:

2021 - 2025


Partner countries:

Waste management and global warming are of rapidly growing concern for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). This provides an opportunity to exploit algae technology to introduce the green concept in wastewater treatment. ALGECO thereby aims to develop innovative and cost-effective algae technologies for transforming the municipal treated wastewater from a waste into viable algae-based products. Specifically, nutrients recovered from municipal tertiary wastewater will be converted to value added products of algae-based organic fertilizer and soil ameliorator for horticultural usage. More importantly, this project will be thoroughly evaluated as a new value chain to Norwegian WWTPs regarding its feasibility and sustainability. From 2021 to 2025, ALGECO is to target a zero-waste-emission scientific blueprint on algae technology, with a positive balance in terms of reducing wastes, reusing wastes and regenerating values (3R). This project will integrate five state-of-the-art components in a novel configuration: (1) Green solutions for municipal wastewater treatment. (2) Inherent advantages of municipal treatment wastewater for algae cultivation. (3) Cost-effective polyculture cultivation strategies. (4) Closed loop integration systems. (5) Sustainable and feasible valorization process. And there are a PhD project, a Postdoc position and several Master students opportunities involved to foster the research excellence in higher education. ALGECO will be implemented through collaborations of NIVA, SINTEF Energy, NMBU, UiA, UiO, NIBIO and UQ (Australia), with Bioskiva AS and Vestfjorden Wastewater Company (VEAS) as industrial partners. The project team is made up of highly experienced national and international research groups of complementary competences and experience in the fields of algae bioremediation, biotechnology, bioengineering, molecular systematics, soil chemistry, plant science and environmental economy. The success of ALGECO will not only deliver a new win-win strategy for Norwegian WWTPs, but also promote its acceptance through awareness raising and capacity building in the framework of Circular Economy.

For Norwegian wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), both global warning due to carbon emission and waste management are of rapidly growing importance. This increased awareness provides a great opportunity to exploit algae technology to induce the “green concept” in wastewater treatment. ALGECO is built on a real technological breakthrough conceived to achieve a positive balance in terms of Reducing waste, Reusing waste and Regenerating value (3R concept), targeting the better water-energy-environment nexus for the treatment of municipal treated wastewater. ALGECO provides a scientific blueprint by using safe, reliable, and cost-effective algae technologies to enhance the value chain from the wastewater treatment and convert the wastes into viable algae-based products. As the first pilot research of algae-wastewater to treat municipal treated wastewater in Norway, ALGECO will develop a simplified two-stage and cost-effective High Rate Algae Pond system to exploit main waste streams from WTTPs, with a great potential to achieve a circular loop process and to be extrapolated to industrial scale. The roadmap is that nutrients and CO2 recovered from wastewater are turned into new algae-based organic fertilizers and soil ameliorator for horticultural applications. Moreover, the technology process in ALGECO will be developed and optimized to reach the levels both socially acceptable and economically viable. ALGECO proposes a viable, cross-sectoral and integrated pilot-scale demonstration process, aiming to bring a novel paradigm of synergized bioeconomy and circular economy for Norwegian WWTPs. This project will be implemented with interdisciplinary collaborations between seven academic research institutes and two business partners. The overarching goal of ALGECO is not only to develop a new win-win strategy for Norwegian WWTPs on a basis of zero-discharge and self-sustainability, but also to improve their acceptance through capacity building and awareness raising.

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Funding scheme:

BIOTEK2021-Bioteknologi for verdiskaping

Thematic Areas and Topics

Responsible Research & InnovationRRI MedvirkningBransjer og næringerLandbrukKutt i utslipp av klimagasserLandbrukJordLTP3 Høy kvalitet og tilgjengelighetLTP3 Miljøvennlig energi og lavutslippsløsningerBransjer og næringerAnvendt forskningPortefølje Banebrytende forskningLTP3 Muliggjørende og industrielle teknologierNaturmangfold og miljøTerrestrisk forurensning inkl. miljøgifterBransjer og næringerProsess- og foredlingsindustriPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderMiljø, klima og naturforvaltningPortefølje InnovasjonBioteknologiBioøkonomiSektorovergripende bioøkonomiPortefølje ForskningssystemetGrunnforskningBioøkonomiØvrig bioøkonomiResponsible Research & InnovationRRI Utviklings- og prosessorienteringKlimarelevant forskningLandbrukPlanterBransjer og næringerMiljø - NæringsområdeLTP3 Bioøkonomi og forvaltningFNs BærekraftsmålMål 12 Ansvarlig forbruk og produksjonLTP3 Klima, miljø og energiBioøkonomiFNs BærekraftsmålMatForurensningPortefølje Mat og bioressurserPortefølje Muliggjørende teknologierBioteknologiLandbruksbioteknologiLTP3 Samfunnssikkerhet og beredskapLTP3 Fagmiljøer og talenterResponsible Research & InnovationSirkulær økonomiLTP3 Samfunnsikkerhet, sårbarhet og konfliktPortefølje Energi og transportLandbrukLavutslippMatGlobal matsikkerhetPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderNaturmangfold og miljøLTP3 Klima, polar og miljøLTP3 Styrket konkurransekraft og innovasjonsevneBioteknologiIndustriell bioteknologiLTP3 Nano-, bioteknologi og teknologikonvergensPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderSkog, landbruk og matPortefølje Klima og miljøLTP3 Et kunnskapsintensivt næringsliv i hele landet