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ALGAESYS & Davos - Wastewater management for a carbon neutral world

At the 50th WEF in Davos, “Shaping the Future of Energy & Materials” forum included panellists from Occidental Petroleum and En+ Group. We heard efforts of these two energy intensive businesses in achieving carbon neutrality: Occidental targeting carbon negativity by capturing more carbon dioxide than the combustion CO2 yield of barrels extracted; likewise En+ Group shifted to hydropower and are also developing innovative low energy refining technologies.

Whilst these industries are to the fore in the public’s mind, you might be surprised at the carbon footprint of eliminating wastewater pollutants prior to discharge into the watercourse. Ironically, this very necessary pollution prevention infrastructure of 22,000 plants accounts for more than 1% of the overall electricity consumption in the EU. Annually, that equates to some 44 GWh.

Globally, wastewater treatment exceeds the carbon footprint of aluminium and other non-ferrous metals refining activities! (World Resources Institute)

Treatment plants serving smaller community are the least efficient and small plants (serving communities of less than 50 000) represent almost 90% of the total number of plants, but process only 31% of the population’s wastewater and require 42% of electricity use. Furthermore, conventional wastewater treatment plants generate additional GHGs with

CO2 from the respiration of the biological processes typically employing bacterial liquors mixed in deep heavily aerated tanks, and methane from anaerobic fermentation of the liquors and solid residues

In improving water quality compliance standards, the industry deploys more complex and energy intensive technology.

ALGAESYS can provide a carbon negative solution for these large number of smaller community facilities whilst enhancing the efficacy of pollutant destruction by:

- greatly reducing the electrical energy required by 80%,

- employing algae with shallow tanks and harnessing the natural sunlight and aeration process;

- reducing / avoiding CO2 emission - algae adsorbs CO2 as part of its metabolism, releasing oxygen;

- reducing fermentation by-products & waste residues generating methane; and

- by employing photovoltaic panels as an integrated part of the facility ensures energy autonomy.

For a community of 4000 population, the energy savings made are enough to provide the household needs for another 1500 persons.

The algae consumes 30 kilograms of CO2 per person per year; that is 120 tonnes CO2 annually for that community of 4000.

The Panellists at Davos felt the new decade would bring an acceleration in action and of technological & economic disruption, a change in energy pricing, in investor attitudes and regulatory vigour. ALGAESYS provides an attractive and timely solution to this urgent need for the benefit of all.

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