Project E-fluent-EX

Research on the use of biowaste in Extremadura: sustainable source of renewable energy, mobility and bioproductos

Thematic objective: OTI "to promote research, technological development and innovation"

Total budget: 753,057.97 € | Aqualia budget: 314,076.85 €

Total funding: 548,017.71 € | Aqualia funding: 202,489.20 €

Spain, and specifically the Autonomous Community of Extremadura, have a clear line that is committed to a Circular Green Economy (Extremadura 2030). There are many companies and institutions that are working in this line to improve the current yields that can be obtained from the different organic materials, organic waste, agro-industrial waste, that can generate Clean Energy.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the EU are often oversized due to unexpectedly low wastewater production caused by climatic changes or different socio-economic scenarios. 
The E-fluent-EX project proposes to investigate the integration of different technologies that make it possible to take advantage of these existing and unused infrastructures in the WWTP, turning them into biofactories that allow a beneficial use of agro-industrial and forestry bio-waste from the region together with the sewage sludge to obtain positive synergistic effects in the generation of bioenergy, biofuels and other valuable bioproducts.

The general objective of the project is to investigate the concept of eco-efficient bio-factories, such as production centres for new bioproducts, renewable energy sources and their storage with disruptive systems, in addition to promoting sustainable mobility with green biofuels, taking advantage of the biowaste generated in Extremadura. Thus, the main objectives of the E-fluent-EX project are:

  • Promoting the circular economy, transforming waste into resources with high added value.
  • Increasing the competitiveness of the participating companies and their sectors.
  • Generating and storing renewable energy in a distributed way.
  • Promoting energy efficiency and the consumption of renewable energy.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with current waste management and with the use of fossil fuels as energy source.

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to develop different activities, with the following technical-scientific objectives:

  • Analysis of the parameters and energy consumption patterns of the biofactory.
  • Obtaining biofuel (biomethane) from biowaste (agri-food industry and sewage sludge) through a disruptive cleaning process based on green absorbents (ionic liquids).
  • Obtaining renewable H2 from i) biogas through reforming with new generation catalysts synthesized from biosolids and ii) waste streams rich in ammonium through a process of concentration and catalytic transformation.
  • H2 quality will be analyzed for its use as vehicular fuel and energy carrier to obtain electricity using fuel cells.
  • Design of a solar system that allows sustainable and safe management of the biosolids resulting from the co-digestion process, through drying and sanitation.
  • Obtaining high-quality biochar through thermochemical processes from the digestate resulting from the anaerobic co-digestion process.
  • Development and integration of an energy storage device according to the required capacity and the environmental conditions of the biofactory.
  • Validate the use of dry and sanitized digestate and biochar as fuel in biomass boilers and other environmental applications (soil remediation).