LIFE NIMBUS: circular economy and renewable-fueled buses in Barcelona

LIFE NIMBUS: circular economy and renewable-fueled buses in Barcelona

Cetaqua has launched LIFE NIMBUS, a project that improves the circular economy between the city and the wastewater treatment plants through the implementation of a new sustainable model: the ecofactory, a concept that turns the traditional treatment plant into a facility that generates valuable resources. The initiative is funded by the European Commission and is part of the LIFE Program.

In this project, waste from the treatment plants (sludge) will be used as fuel to promote green transport in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona. The Baix Llobregat wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), managed by Aigües de Barcelona, ​​will be in charge of revaluing waste by producing biomethane suitable for injection in vehicles. In turn, LIFE NIMBUS promotes power-to-gas technology to store surplus renewable energies.

LIFE NIMBUS promotes the concept of ecofactory as a solution to promote the circular economy and reduce the environmental impact in Barcelona. Thanks to research and collaboration between the public and private sectors, it is intended to demonstrate the technical capacity and economic viability of power-to-gas technology for the conversion of electrical energy into gas based on biological processes to produce biomethane.

To achieve this, a biological methanization demonstration plant will be designed, built and operated at the Baix Llobregat WWTP. The biomethane produced, used to power a bus of Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona’s (TMB) fleet, is the opportunity to link the generation of renewable electricity with the decarbonization of the transport sector, which demands around 33% of total consumption of primary energy in Europe. In this way, the project will promote that energy consumption comes from renewable sources and that the city of Barcelona approaches the climate neutrality proposed for 2050.

In addition to Cetaqua, the project has the collaboration of Aigües de Barcelona, ​​operator of the Baix Llobregat WWTP; Labaqua, in charge of the design and construction of the biological methanization unit; TMB, which will provide a bus with a daily route of 100 km; and the GENOCOV research group of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in charge of the design, construction and development of bio-electrochemical technology (BES). The project also has the support of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

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