The Department of the Environment and Ceit-IK4 sign a collaboration agreement to investigate microalgae-producing technologies

 Aguas DipuWeb

Deputy of the environment in Gipuzkoa, José Ignacio Asensio, and the manager of Ceit-IK4, José Ignacio Terrés, signed an agreement that will allow Ceit-IK4 researchers to move ahead with their work with microalgae, specifically for use in water treatment. Researchers from the Water and Waste Group will lay the foundations for the development of a photobioreactor-based technology that will be capable of treating water in aquaculture systems for reuse in different areas.
Microalgae are microorganisms that use sunlight as a source of energy and CO2 as an inorganic source of carbon, and consume nutrients and produce oxygen. This is a promising option for wastewater treatment in that it reduces the pressure exerted on the environment.

Deputy José Ignacio Asensio explained that his department wants to move forward in improving the environment, promoting the Circular Economy and seeking mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. "Within this objective, we also want to promote research on microalgae more broadly and evaluate their potential application in contributing to the Circular Economy and reducing CO2 emissions. In this regard, research into technologies that use microalgae to generate byproducts and reduce carbon dioxide emissions is an opportunity ", said Asensio.

The 2018 agreement supported the creation of an experimental testing platform, which has been shown to be viable and has allowed researchers to collect a large amount of preliminary data. Ceit-IK4 is now ready to test that platform in a scenario that is similar to a real one in order to optimize its operation for the specific case in which it will be applied, which is in water used in aquaculture systems. This new stage of research will include other actions such as evaluating the use of plastic supports to encourage the growth of biomass, the use of CO2 for the same purpose, membrane filtration and even the subsequent recovery of algal biomass. The ability to optimally control microalgae production will be necessary in order to improve process monitoring equipment.

The agreement lays the foundations for this ambitious project, which consists of deploying an experimental platform in a scenario close to the real one to optimize its operation.