North Sweden Cleantech

Algae pilot – reducing CO2 emissions with the help of algae

This Algae pilot is the first of its kind in Sweden. The algae convert unwanted substances to utilities. The goal is that algae cultivation will reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and purify waste water to minimize over-fertilization of our waters and at the same time produce an energy-rich algae mass that is raw material for biodiesel (algae with high fatty acid content), animal feed (protein-rich algae) etc.

Algae grow fast, up to 100 tonnes dry weight / year per hectare. In that way they are superior to terrestrial plants and in addition they can be grown in pools on land that is not profitable for agriculture. The algae are filtered, sedimented or centrifuged from the liquid and can then be used for different purposes.

Algae research is increasing around the world, but besides research in Canada, it has never been performed as far north as in Umeå, Sweden. Since the end of 2014, the algae pilot is run by a consortium including Umeå and Luleå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SP Processum and SP (in Borås), in cooperation with Vakin, Umeå Energi and RagnSells. The aim is to mass produce algae and at the same time clean flue gases and municipal wastewater.

A larger pilot is placed close to the Umeå Energi combined power and heating plant, Dåva CHP, and a smaller pilot is placed in connection to Vakin’s waste water treatment plant. Algae need carbon dioxide, nutrition and sunlight in order to grow. In the pilot situated at Dåva the combined power and heating plant pumps carbon dioxide rich flue gases to the pilot, providing carbon. As nutrition municipal wastewater, composting leachate and residual streams from pulp and paper industry is used.

In the smaller pilot, municipal influent is used as nitrogen and phosphorus source. The carbon dioxide comes from flue gases from biogas combustion.

The larger algae pilot at Dåva (Umeå Energi) consists of four open dams, each of 6 or 20 m³, and a laboratory unit including equipment. Four dams make it possible to do tests with different algae and different kinds of water at the same time. The mini pilot at Vakin consists of a photobioreactor of 880 liters and is placed in a greenhouse with a possibility to remove the roof to exploit sun light as much as possible.

Large pilot

Town: Umeå
Find us: Dåva Energiväg 10
Visiting: spring, summer and fall
Duration: 1-2 hours
Languages: Swedish & English

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