A common barrier in the transition between development and rollout of a new technology lies in regulation. Innovation means pushing the boundaries, and policy often lags behind, causing problems and delays for those cutting-edge organisations trialling new approaches. The ALG-AD project is working with NNFCC, a leading bio economy consultancy, to clarify where current regulatory barriers exist in relation to our work, where we are using the digestate from AD to cultivate microalgae. Our review will identify where there are grey areas which need addressing to enable larger scale adoption. The initial regulatory review is in progress, and has highlighted that there are indeed challenges in this area – but the team are also working to provide guidance for stakeholders to navigate this difficult area. Read More
ALG-AD - Creating value from waste nutrients by integrating algal and anaerobic digestion technology
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 is ALG-AD doing?
ALG-AD has completed three pilot facilities construction at 3 distinct ‘real life conditions locations in North West Europe: Devon (UK), Ghent (Be) and Brittany (Fr). Each facility used local conditions to grow the algae and record results. Information from the three pilots is used to generate Decision Support Tools. These tools together with a demonstration to stakeholders promote the adoption of the new technology.
The valorisation of produced algal biomass will be achieved through the animal feed preparation. The process of hydrolysation of algal biomass with the assessment of pathogens and heavy metals level, permitting to use this biomass for the animal (piglet and fish) nutrition trials.
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
P.O. Box 3640
Birmingham City University
1 Curzon Street
1 Higher Challonsleigh
Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique
La Géraudière Rue P. A. Bobierre
44939 Cedex 9
Université de Bretagne Occidentale
3 rue des Archives
Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
1 Rue Dumont d'Urville
Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail
Cooperl arc Atlantique
7 Rue de la Jeannaie Maroue
1 Singleton Park
1 Singleton Park
|Universiteit Gent||Marcella Fernandes de Souza||Marcella.FernandesDeSouza@UGent.be||Belgium|
|Karlsruher Institut für Technologie||Christine Röschfirstname.lastname@example.org||Germany|
|Birmingham City University||Lynsey Melville||Lynsey.Melville@bcu.ac.uk||United Kingdom|
|Langage AD||Daniel Langtonemail@example.com||United Kingdom|
|Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique||Pascal Dagronfirstname.lastname@example.org||France|
|Université de Bretagne Occidentale||Denis de la Broiseemail@example.com||France|
|Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique||Philippe Soudantfirstname.lastname@example.org||France|
|Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail||Alassane Keita||Alassane.KEITA@anses.fr||France|
|Cooperl arc Atlantique||Barbara Clement-Larosiereemail@example.com||France|
Wales is a nation shaped by agriculture, and current Welsh Government proposals on NVZs will challenge this crucial sector. Swansea University’s ALG-AD project is already testing approaches to manage excess food and farm waste, which may help Welsh businesses to overcome the challenge, should the legislation come in to effect. Read More
Whilst environmental benefits of designating all of Wales as an NVZ would be undoubtable, this needs to be finely balanced with commercial needs of the farming community. Our work on ALG-AD is looking to help agricultural communities to achieve this balance, by finding alternative solutions for digestate, which can also generate income for AD. https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/news/13882-draconian-wg-water-quality-proposals-would-push-dairy-farms-over-the-edge-fuw-dairy-committee-warns Read More
One of the legacies which will remain after ALG-AD officially ends will be a permanent exhibition which will be on display at Derval Experimental Farm in Pays de la Loire, France. Read More
Despite the Europe-wide lockdown, it’s pretty much business as usual on ALG-AD and recently the project welcomed a new staff member into its midst. Read More
Two weeks into the new world of working from home and the Zoom conference call is now the new normal for the ALG-AD team. In fairness, the team had already been using the platform widely as we’re split across several countries. But in the era of the lockdown, our strong communications foundations have really proven themselves. Read More
Along with the majority of citizens across North West Europe, scientists and project support staff working on ALG-AD are now carrying out their duties from the safety of their homes. Read More
Coronavirus outbreak brings continuous operation at Langage to an abrupt end. Read More
ALG-AD colleagues from France and Belgium came to Swansea University in January for a workshop focused on characterisation and analysis of the biomass being produced by the project. Read More
The last of the three photobioreactors to be constructed by the Interreg NWE funded ALG-AD project is now up and running in Belgium and is already growing biomass. Read More
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.
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.
The second Nordic Algae Symposium was a one day symposium focusing on European & Nordic algal research and production sector, bringing together industrial and academic researchers engaged to algal studies & technologies.
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.
Inaugural event looking at the importance of nutrient recycling.
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.
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.