Project seeks to enhance biofuel production from waste

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Nice to read the reporting of the waste to energy project, wish to know how much bio-gas is ...

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FCC is participating in a methamorphosis project to convert waste treatment centres into bioenergy factories.

The project seeks to develop a process for enhancing biofuel production from municipal, agricultural and industrial waste.

Methamorphosis, which was granted funding in 2014 by Europe's LIFE programme (which supports actions to mitigate climate change), aims to increment biogas production from municipal waste leachate by modifying and innovating processing techniques. The gas produced by this methanisation process is enriched for use as fuel in vehicles, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; in the future, according to the FCC Group, it may be injected into the natural gas grid.

The project is said to envisage the installation and operation of prototypes to increase biogas output and enrich its biomethane content at the Ecoparc 2 municipal solid waste treatment centre in Montcada i Reixac (Barcelona), which is owned by AMB and managed by FCC Medio Ambiente.

Three technologies

The prototypes are based on three technologies developed by FCC Aqualia: an anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), a patented system for autotrophic denitrification (ELAN), and a patented upgrading facility that will produce enriched biomethane from biogas (ABAD).

This new process is expected to enhance efficiency while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by cutting energy demand by 70% and reducing CO2 emissions by 80% with respect to conventional processes. ICAEN will assist in transferring the knowledge obtained from the project and in enhancing its replicability.

According to the FCC Group, Methamorphosis represents a step forward in extracting energy from waste and is an important contribution to a circular economy, since it turns a waste treatment centre into a fuel production facility with the ability to feed both vehicles and the distribution network.

Testing times

The efficiency of the enriched biomethane will be demonstrated in tests with SEAT vehicles monitored by that company's engineers and in FCC Medio Ambiente vehicles that currently use natural gas, in a series of tests totalling 120,000 kilometres per vehicle.

The test with FCC Medio Ambiente vehicles will be conducted in normal conditions as the vehicles perform their day-to-day tasks. GHG emissions are expected to be reduced by 30% with respect to diesel, and the impact of biomethane on performance, engine components, fuel consumption and emissions will be assessed in the test fleet, by comparing with existing data from using network’s natural gas.

Through this project, the FCC Group said it is furthering the development of a fuel from renewable sources that is both cleaner and more environmentally friendly than existing liquid fuels, produces lower emissions of harmful particles, improves air quality, and helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The project is headed by FCC Aqualia in partnership with Area Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) (Association of Metropolitan Barcelona Municipalities), FCC Medio Ambiente (the Spanish brand for FCC Environment), Gas Natural Fenosa, the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN) and SEAT.

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Nice to read the reporting of the waste to energy project, wish to know how much bio-gas is generated from the bio-degradable waste. Is it also taking care of sewerage waste, I mean to say, is it a composite unit, can it also treat the waste water? What is the economics of the project? What is RoR on investment, means is it commercially viable.

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