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BIOTEK2021-Bioteknologi for verdiskaping

KSP-S: 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.

Waste management and global warming are of rapidly growing concern for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). This provides an opportunity to exploit algae technology to induce 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 applications. Finally, this process will be thoroughly evaluated as a new value chain to WWTPs regarding its feasibility and sustainability. 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. 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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BIOTEK2021-Bioteknologi for verdiskaping