[return to news]

Imagen 01

From waste-to-energy to biotechnology

ReCO2very newsletter nº1 – May 2017  Versión española

ReCO2very project is progressing towards an even more green waste incineration

Imagen 02ReCO2very is an innovative R&D project promoted by INGEMAS, COGERSA, NEOALGAE, UNIOVI, INCAR and ITMA, aimed to recover CO2 emissions from waste incinerators for an efficient cultivation of microalgae.

Its budget, 901,111.02 €, is being partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within the “Retos-Colaboración” Programme (Spanish RDI programme aimed at the society’s challenges and collaborative RDI projects).


Imagen 03

The University of Oviedo has identified 14 strains of microalgae that grow spontaneously in COGERSA

Imagen 04The University of Oviedo (Department of Organisms and Systems Biology) researches microalgae cultures collected at COGERSA’s landfill, assessing the establishment of the crops, their growth response and potential for scale cultivation, as well as the behavior of the microalgae cultures exposed to treated leachates and CO2 emissions from waste incineration.


Imagen 05

So far, 14 microalgae species that grow naturally at COGERSA’s facilities have been isolated, out of which at least 2 species develop adequately in aqueous media containing more than 50% permeate (landfill leachate treated by Biomembrat® process) and one microalgae species could reveal great potential under controlled conditions as a source of carotenoids.

INCAR-CSIC achieves optimum results for CO2 concentration by adsorption with pine sawdust

Imagen 06The research group at the National Institute of Coal (INCAR-CSIC) aims at developing CO2 concentration approaches using carbon based adsorbent materials. The team has been testing the performance of several carbon materials tailored for ReCO2very, in order to achieve sustainable and cost-effective adsorption-desorption of CO2. Lab-scale experiments include preparation of low cost adsorbents with high capacity, adequate selectivity to CO2 and easy regeneration, as well as the evaluation of the performance under cyclic adsorption-desorption processes.

So far, the research has revealed promising results when using pine sawdust as adsorbent, which are very good news as it is a relevant biomass residue in Asturias. Its behavior is comparable, and even better, to that observed for commercial activated carbons specially formulated for selective uptake of CO2.


ITMA Foundation is trying to fight fouling using nanomaterials

Imagen 07ITMA Foundation´s research group aims to improve microalgae cultivation by reducing fouling on the bio-reactors (raceways) surface. This phenomenon somehow hinders microalgae crops growth and handling. Therefore, the ReCO2very project seeks to minimize surface fouling through the use on the raceway surface of functionalized nanomaterials synthesized by ITMA.


Imagen 08(a) Nanoparticles (NP) synthetized by ITMA

(b) Suspended nanoparticles

(c) Preparation of NP-doped resin for coating

(d) Fiberglass plate coated with NP-doped resin

(e) NP-coated fiberglass exposed to microalgae

Up to 372 European incineration facilities could crop microalgae

Imagen 09COGERSA’s facilities have been sampled looking for natural and adapted microalgae species, in collaboration with the University of Oviedo. The research at COGERSA has progressed characterizing the flue gases released from the clinical waste incineration plant. CO2 content and other potential pollutants have been considered for subsequent coupling of the pilot plant aimed to microalgae cultivation.

Several effluents produced at COGERSA’s facilities, mainly landfill leachate and depurated leachate, have been also characterized as potential media for microalgae cultivation, trying to save water and commercial nutrients.

COGERSA is collaborating with Ingemas and Neoalgae for development, installation, and operation of the pilot plant connected to its incineration plant.


Imagen 10

The team of COGERSA has identified up to 525 waste-to-energy facilities for recovery of urban waste across Europe, out of which 372 facilities could have enough free surrounding space to install microalgae crops, as it is proposed by ReCO2very model. Furthermore, up to 61 WtE plants could be considered more suitable for microalgae cultivation as their latitude is characterised by a higher solar incidence and they are located close to sewage treatment plants that could provide aqueous media and nutrients.

Map of European Waste-to-Energy plants: https://goo.gl/tKJNiV

NEOALGAE presented ReCO2very results in an international workshop organized by the INSPIRA1 network

Imagen 11In collaboration with the University of Oviedo, NEOALGAE, a young and small-sized enterprise from Asturias focused on microalgae biotechnology, has been assessing different microalgae cultures and conducting crop trials at laboratory, pre-pilot scales, and, more recently, at the pilot plant connected to COGERSA’s incineration facility. The objective of NEOALGAE is to demonstrate the advantages of using recovered CO2 and leachate derivatives to attain a profitable industrial production of microalgae.


Imagen 12

Until the end of the project by December 2017, NEOALGAE will operate the pilot plant that has been designed in collaboration with INGEMAS. The pilot plant, equipped with both open and closed photo-bioreactors, is the first to recover CO2 from waste incineration flue gases.

Neoalgae showed results of ReCO2very at an international workshop on microalgae and bioenergy which was held in June 2016 in Mostoles by INSPIRA1 network http://inspira-cm.org/

Microalgae exposed to incineration flue gas




The Environmental Engineering Group of the University of Oviedo evaluates anaerobic digestion of microalgae

Imagen 13The Environmental Engineering Group of the University of Oviedo is conducting some research on several processes to improve concentration of the microalgae produced in the pilot plant at COGERSA’s facilities, including coagulation-flocculation, centrifugation and flotation tests.

The concentrated microalgae samples are being studied under anaerobic digestion (AD) conditions to evaluate the yield of biogas production. This study in lab-scale reactors will determine the potential of methane in mixtures of co-substrates by biodegradability tests. Finally, the best conditions will be assayed in an AD pilot plant equipped with a 1.2 m3 high load capacity digester based on IBR technology (Induced Bed Reactor). This pilot plant has been successfully applied in previous projects:

  • Recovery of food waste for biogas production (A-Biowaste)

  • Recovery of agricultural and food waste: optimization of the anaerobic digestion process (Agro-Optigas)

  • Manure co-digestion for energy recovery and prevention of greenhouse gas emissions (MMAMRM-08-200800050084725)


INGEMAS installs the first microalgae culture that feeds from waste incineration flue gases

Imagen 14TSK group, a Spanish leader firm of engineering and facility supplying, is involved as INGEMAS trademark in ReCO2very project. Since 2014, INGEMAS has been designing the pilot plant for microalgae cultivation.

The ReCO2very pilot plant was launched in June 2016 at COGERSA’s facilities, becoming the first one to be coupled to a waste incineration plant in order to recover CO2 emissions for efficient microalgae cultivation. Until the end of the project, the pilot module will cultivate natural microalgae cultures from COGERSA’s facilities, which have been previously identified and studied by the University of Oviedo and Neoalgae. The microalgae crops will be also tested for biogas production.

The operation of this unique pilot plant will provide essential information to assess the feasibility and interest of the industrial cultivation of microalgae recovering incineration flue gases, which are characterized by a high content of CO2 as well as the more stringent levels for pollutants in the industrial spectrum (Directive 2010/75/EU).


Imagen 15

[return to news]

© 2011 COGERSA Todos los derechos reservados  | W3C | Diseño: Gigia Publicidad | Desarrollo: Sadim | Términos legales | Política de Cookies | Política de Privacidad de la Web | Mapa web