The ALGECO project is divided into six parts, or “work packages” that will contribute to different objectives and test the corresponding hypotheses for the project.
Algae cultivation strategy to target municipal treated water
Lead: NIVA with support from UiO and NIBIO
In the first work package (WP1), researchers will deliver key information from algae species, algae-bacteria interactions and the benchmark of polyculture cultivation to effectively remediate treated wastewater for the pilot tests in the project (WP2). Through laboratory experiments we will find out more about the impact of temperature, wastewater characteristics, light and CO2 on the algae polycultures. Experts in microbiology, algae chemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics, analytical and statistics will be responsible for investigating the polyculture biological activity, algae-bacteria interaction, dynamics of polyculture productivity and nutrient depletion in the wastewater. The Norwegian Culture Collection of Algae (NORCCA) will provide the necessary algae cultures.
To develop a cost-effective algae cultivation strategy to recycle residue nutrients in treated wastewater.
The polyculture of filamentous algae can thrive in the treated wastewater.
Closed loop mode of integrated algae-wastewater treatment
Lead: NIVA with support from NIBIO
Simultanously, with the first WP, we will focus on the technical optimisation of algae productivity, nutrient depletion and carbon fixation in pilot scales in WP2. This work will verify the research outcomes from WP1, to achieve effective remediation and produce sufficient biomass for the next work packages (WPs 3-4) and data input for WP5. This research will be carried out using the two-stage cultivation system located at the NIVA Algae R&D facilities.
To maximize pilot-scaled algal productivity by combining efficient effluent treatment and carbon sequestration.
A two-stage High Rate Algae Pond (HRAP) cultivation method can achieve better algae-wastewater treatment efficiency.
Algae-based new products development
Lead: SINTEF Energy with support from Veas and BKA
In this part of the project, the produced algae will be used as feedstocks for the algae with and without sewage sludge in a series of anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis trials. This process will produce bioenergy, algae-based fertilizers and soil enhancer for efficacy testing (WP4), while the energy flow data and environment footprints will be further investigated (in WP5).
To evaluate the algae value-adding to sludge and produce new algae products via biorefinery processes.
Algae biomass can act functional feedstocks to increase the bioenergy production and improve the properties of residues in the sludge treatment.
Algae based fertilizers efficacy investigation
Lead: NMBU with support from UQ
Here we will evaluate the impact of the algae products (from WP3) on the health condition of soil and plants, as the important output of algae valorization (WP5).
To deliver a proof-of-concept of algae-based fertilizers and soil ameliorator for horticulture.
Derived algae-based products can increase the soil fertility, plant health and growth performance.
Sustainability and techno-economic assessment
Lead: UiA with support from all partners
In this part we will in effect, study the entire value chain within the ALGECO process. With the authentic data collected from the work on developing algae-based products (WPs 2-4), we aim to verify the sustainability and techno-economic feasibility of the project.
To verify the feasibility and sustainability via techno-economic-environment assessments.
The whole upstream and downstream process in this project can be a self-sustainable process as an emerging bioeconomy and circular economy concept suitable for WWTPs in Norway.
Dissemination, communication and networking
Lead: NIVA with support from all partners
We will also aim to ensure that the project outcomes are effectively disseminated to the scientific community, stakeholders and general public. It is expected that the project will increase societal awareness on how wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) can contribute to developing commercially viable circular economy solutions exploiting the abundant, low value nutrient and energy resources in wastewater.