Spain: SEAT and Aqualia pioneer biomethane production
An innovative new project called LIFE+ Methamorphosis focuses on biomethane as a sustainable fuel.
Spanish car company SEAT and water management company Aqualia are spearheading a project to turn wastewater into biomethane. Powered with this fuel produced during one year at a treatment plant in Spain, a vehicle could circumnavigate the globe 100 times.
SEAT and Aqualia came up with this initiative when trying to address the issues of pollution from traditional car fuels – which have led to traffic restrictions in cities like Madrid – and reusing water, a scarce resource. To produce biomethane at their facility, wastewater is separated from sludge in treatment plants, and then becomes gas after a fermentation treatment. Following a purification and enrichment process, the biogas can be utilized as fuel. Compared against petrol, production and consumption of the biofuel releases 80% less carbon dioxide, according to SEAT. The new biofuel works in compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled cars.
The project aims to show feasibility at industrial scales through two waste treatment systems. The UMBRELLA prototype will be set up in a municipal waste treatment plant serving Barcelona. The METHARGO prototype will create biomethane at a plant handling animal manure.
SEAT will supply vehicles to test the biofuel over around 74,500 miles. The European Commission is funding the project. Other companies participating include Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, Gas Natural, the Catalan Institute for Energy, and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
Read more here about the LIFE + Methamorphosis project.