The City of Altamonte Springs, FL is partnering with AECOM – an infrastructure consulting firm – and water technology company, Genifuel on a pilot to turn harmful algae and wastewater biosolids into carbon-neutral biocrude oil and biogas.
“This demonstration with the City of Altamonte Springs and Genifuel shows how we can take advantage of previously untapped resources to create renewable, clean energy for the future,” said Dan Levy, Vice President and Director of Algae Programs with AECOM.
Algae has been collected from a local lake since last year using AECOM’s Algae Harvesting Hydronucleation Flotation Technology (HFT) – which is capable of physically removing harmful algal blooms (HABs), cyanotoxins, nutrients, and carbon from water. The algae is then mixed with solid byproducts from the Altamonte Springs Regional Water Reclamation Facility. Genifuel’s hydrothermal process (HTP) uses heat and pressure to convert the wet waste into biofuel “without adding new carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, similar to the way fossil fuels are formed but in minutes as opposed to millions of years.” The resulting by-product from these processes can be converted into fuel at an oil refinery. The system was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, (PNNL) – part of the US Department of Energy.
“We’re excited to work with the City of Altamonte Springs and AECOM to demonstrate this game-changing technology, which has the potential to help reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said James Oyler, President of Genifuel. “Our system allows for very fast conversion of the wet organic content, with the output being biocrude oil or natural gas that is nearly identical to natural fossil equivalents, except they release no net new carbon dioxide.”