The consortium has already tested INCOVER technologies individually at lab scale. The innovation of INCOVER project comes from the combination of all INCOVER technologies, for a bio-production and resource recovery-based wastewater treatment. The description of each technology is as follows:

Thermal and physical pretreatment

  • The maximum hydrolysis efficiency for microalgae will be achieved by means of thermal pre-treatment in case study 1. This pre-treatment will be operated under the optimal conditions previously obtained in pilot scale studies

    Biogas production from different biomass can be improved by several pre-treatments in order to lyse biomass cells further to facilitate hydrolysis (Carrère et al., 2010). In the case of microalgae, physical and thermal pre-treatment techniques, previously tested at pilot scale by INCOVER consortium (Alzate et al., 2012; Passos and Ferrer, 2015), have provided methane productivity (LCH4/kgVS algae) increases of 60-100%.

    At El Torno WWT plant, two different approaches will be tested:

    • Thermal hydrolysis: A high-pressure steam pre-treatment will be used, as it is commonly used for anaerobic digestion of municipal sewage sludge. Applying this technology for algae can result in increasing digester loading, biogas production and a pathogen-free and stabilized biosolids product with increased cake dewaterability. The end product could be applied directly to agricultural processes or composted or dried for use as fertilizer or bio-fuel. In addition to optimizing energy-efficiency and lowering operating costs. Thermal hydrolysis also eliminates odour problems associated with the treatment of organic materials.
    • Auto-hydrolysis at ambient temperature:  A mixing tank with about 24 hours hydraulic retention time will be tested to provide a low cost pre-treatment.