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Monday, 21 April 2014 00:00

CO2Algaefix has developed a control system for microalgae production power plants

Microalgae production facility at the University of Almeria Microalgae production facility at the University of Almeria

The project, supported by the Directorate General for the Environment of the European Union through the Life+ program, has developed a control system for microalgae production that provides control and optimized production in facilities. The Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Almeria, which is part of the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence ceiA3 has been the partner in charge to carrying it out

The CO2ALGAEFIX project, supported by the Directorate General Environment of the European Union through the Life+ Program. The Andalusian Energy Agency, entity attached to the Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment Authority, takes part as a partner. CO2ALGAEFIX has developed a control system for microalgae production. "This project is a milestone in the development of these technologies and could be used in any microalgae production plant," according to the information sent to Europa Press by the Andalusian Government.

The Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Almeria has been the partner in charge of carrying it out. The system consists of both hardware and software, which has been specifically developed for this project, in collaboration with the Department of Software and Computer Science at the University of Almeria.

The control system developed manages integrally microalgae production plant, from the preparation of the culture medium, its entry into the reactors, control of pH in them and finally the harvest and biomass valuation. This system maximizes the efficiency of its use, so that over 95 percent of combustion gases contented in the biomass, is efficiently absorbed by Microalgae and therefore removed from the flue gases.

CO2ALGAEFIX is a milestone in the development of this type of technologies. This technology can be used in any microalgae production plant, either for this purpose of CO2 capture or for production of microalgae for human consumption, animal, cosmetics, etc. The developed system control is an important advance in the industrial application of these technologies because it allows monitoring and optimization of system performance by applying the standards of operation in the industry.

Up to now, the microalgae production systems are being used in small and medium scale, manually, with little control over cultivation parameters and with low results. The development of tools such as the control system, facilitates the process and allows an increase in the control over the variables of the process, improving their productivity and stability of the production.

Project CO2ALGAEFIX

The aim of CO2ALGAEFIX is to design, to build and to operate a plant of biofixation CO2 coming from power factory with microalgae. With a size of 1 hectare, it is one of the largest biofixation CO2  plants  with microalgae that exists in Europe and to eliminate more than 200 tons of greenhouse gas per year.

The CO2ALGAEFIX project is an R&D initiative integrated into the LIFE Programme of the Directorate General Environment of the European Union. The project is being developed in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz). The facility is attached to Iberdrola Combined Cycle Power Plant and it will contribute to reduce CO2 emissions from production of electricity by burning natural gas. This project has a budget of three million euros, of which the European Commission contributes 1.49 million. As evidenced by this pilot plant, this type of production is viable for industrial use and can be a transcendent step for the biomass sector in Spain. Microalgae biomass has more demand in socio-economic sectors such as aquaculture, cosmetics, energy or nutrition.

The CO2ALGAEFIX project is coordinated by AlgaEnergy. The multinational Iberdrola is part of the consortium which has transferred the land for the location of the plant and implement systems of extraction and manipulation of integrated combustion gases. The Exeleria company, is responsible for the phase and the harvested algal biomass concentration and charge of the technical secretariat of the project. The Andalusian Energy Agency provides a vision in bioenergy and coordinates activities of communication, promotion and disemination. Seville and Almeria Universities are involved in the design of facilities and lend their extensive experience to achieve optimum microalgae crop productivity; the Biocluster Madrid association brings expertise in biotechnology projects and is responsible for the international dissemination of the project.

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