A PARTNERSHIP between Spanish car manufacturer SEAT and water services company Aqualia has led to the production and consumption of an innovative new biofuel.
The benefits are twofold, responding to the major environmental challenges of both water waste and CO2 pollution. Turning wastewater into sustainable fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 80 per cent compared to petrol powered vehicles. It reuses an increasingly scarce resource, water, while providing alternative energies to counter episodes of severe pollution that impose traffic restrictions in cities such as Madrid and Paris.
Turning wastewater into biomethane
In the treatment plants, a physical decanting process in tanks separates the water from the sludge, which is then converted into gas following a fermentation treatment. After a process of purification and enrichment, the biogas is ready to be used as fuel.
Circle the globe 100 times per year
A car can drive nearly five million kilometres with the biofuel obtained from the water used by 50,000 inhabitants and treated in a year in a mid-sized treatment plant. In other words, it could circle the globe 100 times or make six return trips to the Moon.
More than 1.5 million Olympic sized swimming pools
Every year around 4,000 cubic hectometres of wastewater is treated in Spain; the equivalent volume of more than 1.5 million Olympic sized swimming pools.
150 cars per day
Every day, a medium-sized plant can treat around 10,000 cubic metres of water and generate 1,000 cubic metres of biomethane, enough for more than 150 vehicles to drive 100 kilometres per day.
CNG powered vehicles
An alternative to traffic restrictions: This renewable biofuel can be used to power compressed natural gas (CNG) cars, thereby reducing emissions by 80 per cent compared to a petrol vehicle, when considering fuel production and vehicle consumption. In addition, CNG models such as SEAT Leon TGI, SEAT Leon ST TGI, and SEAT Mii Ecofuel, are not subject to the traffic restrictions recently put into place since December in several European cities such as Madrid or Paris to curb episodes of severe atmospheric pollution.