MICROALGAE TO BIOMETHANE PROJECT

Open Pond

Open Pond 2

The project will produce biomethane gas from wet biomass generated via in house microalgae cultivation in fresh water open ponds.

The wet biomass is fermented with special enzymes which produce a biogas consisting of 2/3 methane and 1/3 carbon dioxide.                                                         

The biomethane results from the upgrading and cleaning of the biogas generated from the wet algae biomass.

Although there is a rise in the use of electricity powered vehicles compared with the more traditional petrol and diesel alternatives, automotive analysts forecast that it will take a considerable length of time before electric or hydrogen vehicles take

a significant market share of the estimated 1.4 billion cars in the world. This means that there will be a long “guaranteed” market for biomass based fuels.


Italy has approximately 1 million vehicles running on compressed natural gas. This is the highest percentage in Europe and this number is expected to reach 1.3 million by end 2020.
In 2016, Italy exceeded all European countries in terms of the number of passenger vehicles utilizing Compressed Natural Gas and the number of Compressed Natural Gas refueling stations

.

NGV Italy. Source GVR quoted in ‘The Compressed Natural Gas Italian Market.’ Natural Gas Vehicle Alternative Fuels Conference in Bologna May 2016.

Most European countries are promoting biogas to be upgraded and injected into the existing natural gas grid and are providing funds for biomethane production, subsidies in the form of direct support for investment and/or high Feed In Tariffs (FIT) for the biomethane.

The state of Italy is providing a subsidy for all projects that generate methane gas from organic matters such as algae. Under current Italian government guidelines, the Ministerial Decree of 2 March 2018 algae is considered a preferential source to generate biomethane. An annual total production of 1.1 billion m3 of biomethane will be subsidized for 20 years for those plants which enter production within 31 December 2022.

The first project is proposed to be set up in the Region of Puglia to generate 12 million cubic meters of biomethane per annum. This biomethane is being generated to supply the Italian transport industry. The total project investment is budgeted to be 12 million euro.

At present there is not a single plant in Italy that has been announced to produce biomethane from microalgae for transportation fuel. Therefore, the probability is very high that the subsidy in may remain at 0.61-euro cents per cubic meter, or increase. There exists a very serious potential to replicate more plants, each having a capacity to generate 12 million cubic meters of biomethane per annum. Since 12 million is only 1% of the ceiling in the Ministerial decree.

PROCESS DESCRIPTION

This project is divided into 3 phases.

1. Cultivation of microalgae in water.
2. Converting the microalgae into biogas.
3. Cleaning the biogas to obtain biomethane.

The selected algae strain will be cultivated in open ponds (raceways). These open ponds are covered to avoid organic contamination of the selected algae culture, keep rain out of the ponds and similar to the role of a green house, keep the contained growth medium at a higher temperature than the surrounding environment.

The raceways will have a water depth of about 40 cm and will be constantly in motion mixing the added nutrients with the algae and bringing all the algae, on a continuous basis close to the sunnier water surface. When the algae reaches a concentration of about 10 grams per liter it will be mechanically harvested. The algae will then be dewatered in filter presses to a concentration of 100 grams/liter. This wet algal biomass will then be thermally and mechanically conditioned to break the cell walls of the algae so it can be more easily and rapidly fermented.

The conditioned algal biomass will then enter the anaerobic digestion section where it will be fermented for 4-6 weeks and subsequently attacked by suitably chosen enzymes which will convert the contained lipids and proteins into methane and CO2.

This resulting bio-gas has a composition of about 70% methane (CH4) and 30% Carbon dioxide (CO2) with lesser quantities of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and nitrogen compounds. This biogas will then be fed through a series of gas scrubbing systems which will remove in separate steps the H2S, N compounds and the CO2 leaving a purified bio-methane of 99%+ CH4.

The digestate resulting from the anaerobic digestion and totaling about 15,000 metric tons on a dry basis will be seasoned for a period of nearly six months before being sold locally to farmers as a soil conditioner where it assists many types of plants absorb nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil.

PROCESS OVERVIEW

COMPANY BACKGROUND

The Company was formed in 2019.

The Purpose of forming the company was to act as the vehicle to promote the development of algae to bio methane business.

Key Milestones:


The Eventual Objective.

There is strong government subsidy support in Italy for biomethane ventures.

Algae & Algae has a technically advanced production model for biomethane from micro-algae. This can be achieved at comparatively low capital investment and low operating cost thereby ensuring robust cash flow generation and high return on equity.

As a consequence, the Company’s cost structure is commercially superior to other non-algae biomass-based production processes.

As Italy’s demand for transport fuel continues to rise, the Company is at the forefront of leading algae based biomethane production as a means of providing a sustainable green fuel.

The eventual objective is to setup 5 identical projects in  Italy and thereafter expand into other European Union Countries where similar financial incentives are being considered for generation of bio methane from algae.


Patent

The Algae and Algae team submitted an application to the European Patent office covering specific improvisations.

These include creation of a pulsating magnetic field to obtain higher lipid content in the micro algae strain and improvisation for enhanced efficiency in converting algae biomass to biomethane.

In Summary

  1. Under the existing legislation the Italian State is obliged to purchase bio methane for first 10 years at the spot price.
  2. The Italian State is obliged to give financial incentive during the period of 20 years on every cubic meter of bio methane produced in the form of green certificates. These green certificates at an average equate to more or less 3 times the value of spot price of bio methane.
  3. The micro algae is cultivated in house at competitive costs thereby removing insecurity of raw material supply which is a key risk facing most industrial projects.
  4. Parameters 1 -3 above assure financially viability of this project. 
  5. The project meets principle goals set by the European Union towards green energy and mitigation of climate change.
  6. This Project Provides Following Benefits to The Community:

(A).        Promotes green energy and produces non fossil fuel-based gas that is welcomed by the general population in Europe. 

(B).        It uses carbon dioxide in the production process and therefore contributes to the reduction of global warming.

(C).        The bio methane is to be used as transportation fuel in cars and when liquified is used as LNG in trucks and heavy vehicles that vastly reduces emissions emanating from vehicular traffic.

(D).        Subsequently a portion of the organic material being cultivated, can be used in the pharmaceutical industry thereby having a positive social effect on society.

(E).        The algal bio mass residue left over can be used as bio fertilizer.

(F).         Provides employment in South Italy   where it is most needed.

(G).        Reduces the need to use bio mass of agricultural crops for conversion to energy.

(H).        The evolution of this project shall facilitate an intensive research for the conversion of organic matter into hydrogen fuel.

CONTACT:

Should you have any questions ,wish to discuss any type of collaboration with us please contact us at the below address:

Algae & Algae Ltd

104 High Street,
West Wickham, Kent,
United Kingdom BR4 0NF

Email: management@algaeitalia.com