Demonstration project to prove the techno-economic feasibility of using algae to treat saline wastewater from the food industry.
The aim of the project is to implement and demonstrate at large scale the long-term technological and economic feasibility of an innovative, sustainable and efficient solution for the treatment of high salinity wastewater from the F&D industry. Conventional wastewater treatments have proven ineffective for this kind of wastewater, as the bacterial processes typically used for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients are inhibited under high salinity contents. Therefore, generally combinations of biological and physicochemical methods are used which greatly increase the costs of the treatment, making it unaffordable for SMEs, who voluntarily decide not to comply with EU directives and discharge without prior treatment, causing severe damage to the environment. The solution of SALTGAE to this issue consists in the implementation of innovative technologies for each step of the wastewater treatment that will promote energy and resource efficiency, and reduce costs. Amongst these, the use of halotolerant algae/bacteria consortiums in HRAPs for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients stands out for its high added value: not only will it provide an effective and ecological solution for wastewater treatment, but also it will represent an innovative way of producing algal biomass, that will subsequently be valorized into different by-products, reducing the economic and environmental impact of the treatment. Moreover, the project will also address cross-cutting barriers to innovation related to wastewater by developing a platform for the mobilization and networking of stakeholders from all the different sectors related to wastewater, and for the dissemination of results, enabling the development of a common roadmap for the alignment of legislation, regulation and pricing methodologies and promoting financial investment and paradigm shift in perception from ‘wastewater treatment’ to ‘resource valorisation’.