Aqualia and auto maker SEAT are teaming up to develop a sustainable fuel from wastewater. The project Life Metha-morphosis, is aimed at creating a biofuel from treated organic waste, which can then be used to power compressed natural gas (CNG) cars, whose CO2 emissions would be cut by up to 80 percent. The program is built around producing biomethane. This biofuel is powering homes, buses, trucks and ships. The process is called anaerobic digestion that collects biomethane by employing bacteria to break down the solid waste.
Two different facilities are being built to demonstrate new ways to handle the task:
- The UMBRELLA prototype set to be installed at a sewage treatment plant that serves metropolitan Barcelona uses a new anaerobic membrane bioreactor process to separate the gas from the solid waste.
- Another system is called Annamox ELAN which removes nitrogen from the biogas, before it’s cleaned, refined and compressed into CNG.
The treated water the technique produces is cleaner than what usually comes out of treatment plants, and the nitrogen that’s removed from the gas can also be reclaimed. A prototype called METHAGRO, will be built at a plant that deals with animal manure from agriculture and farming, creating biomethane. A mid-sized plant can treat about 10,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, which in turn creates 1,000 cubic meters of biomethane. SEAT will provide some CNG cars to test the new fuels. That’s enough fuel for 150 vehicles to travel 100 km each day.
The Life Metha-morphosis project is intended partially comply with the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive targets for 2020. The project is described in the video below.