Using algae to promote agricultural sustainability and the circular economy 

Algae are being used to develop new technology to clean up waste. Scientists at Swansea University are leading on a €5.5 Million eco-innovative project. The ALG-AD project could potentially result in a circular economy solution whereby excess waste nutrients produced from anaerobic digestion of food and farm waste are used to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed and other products of value.

AlgAd

ALG-AD is a project from Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) a European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission. The project is being led by Dr Carole Llewellyn, Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Bioscience at Swansea University.  

Dr Llewellyn explained: “The project stemmed from issues surrounding Anaerobic Digestion (AD).  AD is used to process a significant amount of food and farm waste to produce biogas and a nutrient rich digest. With expansion of the AD industry across Europe there is excess nutrient waste.  EU legislation and the introduction of nutrient-vulnerable zones across Europe to prevent nutrient run off causing pollution means that solutions need to be developed.

The ALG-AD project will combine algal and anaerobic digestion technologies. Algae require nutrients to grow and so the excess nutrients from AD of food and farm waste provide an essentially free, otherwise waste source of nutrients.  The algae can then be processed to produce commodity products; so for example in this project we will be looking to use the cultivated algae biomass in animal feeds. 

In this way algae can help provide a circular economy solution for the waste industry and help ensure that agriculture is developed sustainably.”
  
ALG-AD has been funded for 3.5 years. Swansea University is leading the project in collaboration with ten partners comprising university, industry and policy makers across the UK, France, Germany and Belgium. Swansea University is to receive over €1 million from the European Union matched with €700,000 from the Welsh Government. 

Type
Press release
Related topics
Organic carbon & nutrient recycling
Manure and animal byproducts
Sustainable Wastewater treatment
Mineral or chemical extractions
Microbial techniques
Biogas value chain
Biowastes to novel feed- & foodstuffs
Tags
Biogas
Algae
Waste recovery
Circular economy
Animal feed

Interreg North-West Europe (NWE)

Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission with the ambition to make the North-West Europe area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. It invests EUR 370 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in activities based on the cooperation of organisations from eight countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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Swansea University

Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university. The University was established in 1920 and was the first campus university in the UK. It currently offers around 350 undergraduate courses and 350 postgraduate courses to circa 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.  

The University’s 46-acre Singleton Park Campus is located in beautiful parkland with views across Swansea Bay.  The University’s 65-acre science and innovation Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, is located a few miles away on the eastern approach to the city. It has the distinction of having direct access to a beach and its own seafront promenade.  Both campuses are close to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Swansea is ranked the top university in Wales and is currently The Times and The Sunday Times ‘Welsh University of the Year’ for 2017. It is also ranked within the top 300 best universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University rankings. 

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK. 

The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and realising its domestic and international ambitions. 

Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit www.swansea.ac.uk
For more information, please contact Mari Hooson, Swansea University Public Relations Office. Tel: 01792 513455, or email: m.hooson@swansea.ac.uk.

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