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The Guijuelo biofactory, finalist in the 2021 Innovation Awards

  • The Guijuelo biofactory, finalist in the 2021 Innovation Awards
  • The Spanish Biomass Association (AVEBIOM) has awarded a runner-up prize to Aqualia's biofactory at the Guijuelo wastewater treatment plant (Salamanca), considering it one of the three best initiatives for the recovery of renewable gases
  • This circular bioeconomy project has revolutionised the traditional notion of wastewater treatment plants, transforming them into biofactories with a marked economic impact, by converting waste from the plant and the Castilla y León agri-food industries into biofertilisers, bioplastics, and biomethane for car usage.
  • The awards were handed yesterday at the inaugural Renewable Gas Show, which took place as part of the EXPOBIOMASA trade fair which is being held this week in Valladolid.

About the entity

Aqualia
Aqualia is the water management company owned by the citizen services group FCC (51%) and by the Australian ethical fund IFM Investors (49%). Aqualia is Europe's fourth largest private water company in terms of population served.

Themes

The biofactory developed by Aqualia at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Guijuelo (Salamanca). has come second in the first edition of the Innovation Prizes in the category of renewable gases, awarded by the Spanish Biomass Association (Asociación Española de la Biomasa, AVEBIOM). The first prize went to the Mixed Renewable Gas Unit (UMGNR) project, developed by Naturgy, EnergyLab and EDAR Bens. The prizes were awarded during the EXPOBIOMASA, trade fair held from 21 to 24 September in Valladolid.

Aqualia's initiative was one of the most outstanding of the more than thirty candidates submitted. Jorge Herrero, director of Expobiomasa and secretary of the jury for the 2021 Innovation Award, described it as one of the "great innovations in the quest for perfect combustion and minimum emissions".

On 16 September Aqualia presented the Guijuelo WWTP biofactory to the authorities and the media through a streaming event followed by over 200 people. You can see a summary of that event in this video.

Under this circular bioeconomy initiative, conventional wastewater treatment plants are turned into biofactories, where waste generated not just in the WWTP but also in the region's agri-food businesses is turned into valuable bioproducts: biofertilisers, bioplastics and biomethane for use in vehicles (bio-CNG). It also has a high impact on the local economy, reduces the ecological footprint of the sector and acts as an economic driver for the territory. The initiative contributes to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, in alignment with SDG 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” and SDG 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production”.

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