Biogas, bioethanol and microalgae projects included in new LIFE+ programme

Back in July, the European Commission (EC) approved funding for 183 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union's environment fund. The projects involve all EU Member States and include a number of bioenergy projects, as Renewable Energy Magazine has found out.
Biogas, bioethanol and microalgae projects included in new LIFE+ programme

According to the EC's Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik the LIFE+ programme supports “high quality, innovative projects with a high level of added value for the EU”. Potočnik says these new projects “will not only make a significant contribution to nature conservation and to improving the environment, including the fight against climate change”.

The Commission received 748 applications in response to its latest call for proposals, of which 183 were selected for co-funding through the programme’s three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance and LIFE+ Information and Communication. Fifty-five of these projects involve partners from more than one Member State.

The bioenergy-related projects we have identified are included in the LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance component and are aimed at contributing to the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. Of the 399 proposals received in this component, the Commission selected for funding 104 projects from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The winning projects, based in 18 Member States, represent a total investment of €286 million, of which the EU will provide some €109 million. Renewable Energy Magazine dug down into this component and identified that six of the 104 projects focus on a range of bioenergy solutions in Belgium, Germany, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands:

Agical+ (Belgium): Validation of an environmentally friendly system, combining carbon dioxide capture and biofuel production based on algae culture for industrial exhaust application. The AGICAL+ project proposes to implement an innovative solution, based on algae culture and biomass production, which will allow for the CO2 capture of lime or glass furnace fumes and the production of biofuel that can be used within the furnaces during the production process. By using an algae culture for carbon capture, it is estimated that carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel consumption in the lime and glass production industries can be significantly reduced – by up to 25% for the former (15% for glass production) and 45% for the latter (15% for glass production).

AlternativeBiomass4Energy (Germany): Sustainable biomass production, processing and demonstration of alternative cropping and energy systems. This project will investigate a new approach for converting digests from biogas plants and biowaste into biochar. At the same time, the possible impacts on crop growth, cropping systems, carbon sequestration and carbon credits will be investigated. The main emphasis will be on demonstrating on a pilot scale a new carbonisation technology (BSP) for the conversion of different sources of waste and digests. This will then be put back into the biomass cropping systems and/or used for energy purposes.

ALGAE-GHG (Romania): Carbon dioxide mitigation from greenhouse gases in algal photosynthetic systems. The overall objective of the ALGAE-GHG project is to develop a demonstration integrated photosynthetic system based on the sequestration of greenhouse gases in algal biomass used as raw materials for value-added bioproducts. Production of algal biomass that can be divided into products for use in various applications including lipids as an alternative source for biofuels and horticulture oils.

CO2ALGAEFIX (Spain): Carbon dioxide capture and bio-fixation through microalgal culture. The key objective of the CO2ALGAEFIX project is to demonstrate, at a one hectare surface scale, an ef¬ficient way to capture carbon dioxide from stationary sources (in this case, a power plant that uses natural gas). It aims to demonstrate that carbon dioxide emissions can be used as a substrate for biomass algae production. CO2ALGAEFIX will also evaluate possible uses of the microalgae, for example, in the production of energy.

AGROWASTE (Spain): Sustainable strategies for integrated management of agroindustrial fruit and vegetable wastes. The AGROWASTE project aims to design an integrated management system for fruit and vegetable wastes for the Region of Murcia, Spain. It will promote environmentally friendly technologies that convert current fruit and vegetable wastes into resources for subsequent use, such as obtaining biogas through anaerobic digestion of industrial wastewater and organic solid wastes with high organic loading.

OMZET (The Netherlands): Waste water treatment as energy and mineral recovery utility. The main objective of the OMZET project is to develop a new approach to wastewater treatment that will demonstrate net energy production, optimal recovery of phosphates and economic viability. This will involve implementing an extra de-nitrification process for the reject water coming from sludge dewatering. It is estimated that the advances made through this project will increase biogas production by 60%.

For more detail on each of the new Environment Policy & Governance projects click here.

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