Update from the lipid-team

In the upcoming month, the lipid-team from the WOW! project will launch the pilot installation at the wastewater treatment plant in Audun-le-Tiche (France). Carefully determined key parameters in the lab-scale experiment will now be tested on site.

The production of biodiesel is remaining one of the most important European targets in terms of renewables in transport fuels for future. Industrially today, biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters; FAMEs) is produced by processing vegetable oil or animal fat. These feedstocks are expensive and to some extent part of the ongoing food vs. fuel discussion. The current recovery and reuse of wastewater-derived lipids (fat, oil and grease) is limited to biogas production in digesters. The residual majority of the lipid potential in sewage is currently not utilized. It is being disposed which brings additional costs to the wastewater treatment plants.

From lab-scale to pilot-scale

Inlet wastewater will first be pumped into a mixing tank, which will reduce the large differences in wastewater influent composition. Thereafter, this water will be continuously pumped into a set of bioreactors inoculated with activated sludge. Anaerobic and aerobic processes will be used for the accumulation of lipids and growth of the lipid accumulating bacteria. This selection will further be supported with a long hydraulic retention time and sludge age. In the next step, treated water will be discharged back to be treated by the conventional wastewater treatment processes. Part of the lipid-rich sludge will be recovered and recirculated back to the bioreactors. While the majority will be stored for further dewatering, extraction and transesterification to produce biodiesel.


More information about this topic?

Please contact Zuzana (University of Luxembourg) zuzana.frkova@uni.lu

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