The ALG-AD team will be holding an open day at Langage AD for interested stakeholders. It will be an opportunity to share our expertise on our solution to valorise excess digestate, by growing algae. 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|
The doors are open again at Langage AD, where the team are optimistic that a quick restart will enable a successful summer algal culture growth season on ALG-AD. Jose Ignacio Gayo Pelaez and Vanessa Ndovela have returned to the greenhouse at AD plant location this week, where changes in COVID-19 restrictions have meant that work can restart at Langage. With the strict observation of social distancing protocols and adjustment to standard operating procedures, the 2 team members responsible for growing the microalgae are back at work. The first task is to clean and sterilize all the equipment, especially Photobioreactor to be ready for inoculation at the start of June. Read More
Latest GDPR policy for ALG-AD project Read More
A challenge when adopting new technology is being able to visualise the results expected and predict outcomes to justify the investment. The ALG-AD team are working on a number of tools to help AD managers to make those difficult decisions around whether or not to implement ALG-AD on their sites. This will include a data modelling tool that will take defined parameters such as geographical location, digestate properties (in terms of nitrogen and phosphorous), type of reactor system and algal strain information, and from this will predict biomass production. Read More
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
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
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.