ALG-AD - Creating value from waste nutrients by integrating algal and anaerobic digestion technology


Project Summary

What is ALG-AD?

ALG-AD is a Interreg NWE funded project in which new technology is being developed to take excess waste nutrients produced from anaerobic digestion of food and farm waste to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed and other products of value.

ALG-AD brings together a group of scientists and engineers from 11 different partners in four countries across North West Europe. These academics are working together with industry to develop a circular economy solution to create wealth from waste.

 

Why is the project necessary?

There is an urgent need to develop sustainable food and farming.  

North West Europe is a densely populated and intensely agricultural area. It thus contributes disproportionately to food and farm waste produced in the EU each year.

Increasing amounts of food and farm waste are processed using anaerobic digestion (AD). AD converts waste to biogas used for energy and a liquid nutrient rich digestate, most of which is returned to land as a biofertiliser.

However, there are strict limits on the amount of digestate which is allowed to be put back on agricultural  land. Strict limits are imposed with EU legislation and so-called Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. This is increasingly creating excess unwanted nutrients. 

The ability to use these excess nutrients to produce new products presents a circular economy solution. 

 

How can ALG-AD help?

ALG-AD combines algal and AD technology.  Microalgae, mainly photosynthetic microorganisms will be cultivated, converting the unwanted nutrients into biomass. The cultivated algal biomass is rich in protein and other useful compounds, and can be used to generate sustainable animal feed products and other useful bio-products.

 

What will ALG-AD be doing?

ALG-AD is building three pilot facilities at 3 distinct ‘real life conditions locations in North West Europe: Devon, Ghent and Brittany.  Each facility will use local conditions to grow the algae and record results. Information from the three pilots will be used to generate Decision Support Tools. These tools together with demonstration to stakeholders will promote adoption of the new technology.

 

 

European Regional Development Fund

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Contact name Address Email Website
Swansea University Carole Llewellyn 1 Singleton Park
Swansea
SA28PP
United Kingdom
c.a.llewellyn@swansea.ac.uk www.swansea.ac.uk
Name Contact Name Email Country
Universiteit Gent Ivona Sigurnjak Ivona.Sigurnjak@UGent.be Belgium
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie Christine Rösch christine.roesch@kit.edu Germany
Birmingham City University Lynsey Melville Lynsey.Melville@bcu.ac.uk United Kingdom
Langage AD Tom Chaloner Tom.Chaloner@langagefarm.com United Kingdom
INNOLAB Bernard Willems bernard.willems@innolab.be Belgium
Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique Pascal Dagron contact@ac3a.chambagri.fr France
Université de Bretagne Occidentale Denis de la Broise denis.de-labroise@univ-brest.fr France
Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Philippe Soudant philippe.soudant@univ-brest.fr France
Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail Gilles Salvat Gilles.salvat@anses.fr France
Cooperl arc Atlantique Anne Lacoste alacoste@cooperl.com France

Project News


Project embraces opportunities for students offered by Erasmus programme

Posted on

Over the past year the EU Interreg NWE funded ALG-AD project has offered placements to three students under the Erasmus student exchange programme. The Erasmus programme is designed to enable students to gain valuable international experience, either by studying part of their degree abroad, or undertaking a work placement. Yoan Lessing from France, Sandra Dukič from Slovenia and Jose Ignacio from Spain have all spent varying amounts of time working on the project over the last year. Read More

Spring proves productive for ALG-AD project

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Two of ALG-AD’s three pilot plants have now been commissioned and inoculated for the first time, with the first harvests from the pilots expected some time in April. During several months of hard work, the teams have designed, constructed and commissioned the pilot facilities at each location. These innovative systems combines large-scale algal cultivation facilities with anaerobic digestion. Read More


In the Press


Using algae to promote agricultural sustainability and the circular economy

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Algae are being used to develop new technology to clean up waste. Scientists at Swansea University are leading on a €5.5 Million eco-innovative project. The ALG-AD project could potentially result in a circular economy solution whereby excess waste nutrients produced from anaerobic digestion of food and farm waste are used to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed and other products of value. Read More


Events


Introducing ALG_AD to end-of-waste business platform in Ghent

, Ghent University

Our colleague Jai Sankar Seelam gave an introductory pitch on the project to colleagues and students at an inspiring afternoon events at the university. His talk took place in a session which was organised by an end-of-waste business platform. It was billed as a unique opportunity to learn about the strategic developments in policy and industry, and current efforts at the faculty, and of the the efforts being made towards a more sustainable future.
Read More

Super Science Sunday Swansea 2019

, The Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Wales, UK

Swansea University’s Oriel Science hosted “Super Science Sunday” at the National Waterfront Museum, during British Science Week 2019. Visitors of all ages saw a huge range of interactive science exhibits, from animals and insects to black holes and astronauts! They were able to spend the day exploring current research with hands on learning, which was suitable for the entire family.
Read More

ALG-AD on display at Ghent academic event

, Ghent University, Belgium

The 24th National Symposium for Applied Biological Sciences (NSABS) on 4 February 2019 at Ghent University! NSABS 2019 was an event which brought together junior researchers, postdocs and group leaders in the field of applied biological sciences. The full-day symposium encompassed a wide variety of research topics in applied biological sciences, and encouraged PhD students to present their work, meet and exchange ideas across researchers and institutions. It was an opportunity to present research to a broad audience and offered the opportunity for networking among colleagues.
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UK Food Standards Agency pays a visit to ALG-AD

, Swansea University

Members of the Food Standards Agency have paid a visit to Swansea University, allowing staff members on the ALG-AD project to showcase their work. The ALG-AD project is aiming to create a circular economy using waste nutrients produced from the anaerobic digestion process to grow algae. The algal biomass produced will then be transformed into animal feed and other value products. The FSA staff were treated to a tour of the aquaculture facilities, followed by presentations on ALG-AD and a select few projects currently ongoing at the University.
Read More

Swansea scientist heads to #AlgalBBB in Seattle

, Seattle, Washington, USA

Dr Claudio Fuentes Grunewald, one of our project scientists based in Swansea University, recently had the chance to talk about the work being undertaken by the project at the 8th annual International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts, held in Seattle. His work demonstrates the membrane technology can concentrate and purify phycoerythrin produced by P. purpureum on a large scale.
Read More


Scientific Publications



Meet the Team


Swansea University

Posted on

Swansea University is the lead partner and is responsible for all project management and communication activities. The university is also responsible for the construction and operation of the investment at Langage AD in Plymouth. In addition SU will contribute to all work packages, delivering and sharing technical results and best practice. Read More


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