Spain: Why the Seville orange is the new green | Business | Economic and financial news from a German perspective

In Seville, southern Spain, the municipal water company implemented a pilot program to use methane from fermented oranges to generate electricity.

EMASESA is a member of Aqua Publica Europea, which aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency in an urban wastewater treatment plant, which uses organic materials to generate electricity. The plan is to put surplus energy on the grid by 2023.

“This project is the result of EMASESA’s commitment to achieving energy self-sufficiency in the urban wastewater treatment process,” the company’s CEO, Jamie Ballop, told DW.

EMASESA aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency for the WWTP Copero wastewater treatment plant

Oranges are not just a fruit

In this way, the CEO said, facilities such as the Cupero wastewater treatment plant will consume approximately 13 gigawatt hours per year in 2020, achieving a level of self-sufficiency close to 95%. “Given its treatment capacity, location and technical level, the Cupero wastewater treatment plant could become a reference environmental center,” he added.

“The current challenge for EMASESA is to ensure the Copero treatment plant succeeds in other treatment plants,” he said. He added that the average self-sufficiency rate of the four largest factories run by Emacisa is about 70%.

In the winter, the city collected 5.7 million kilograms (126 million pounds) of fruit, which was deposited on the streets by 48,000 city trees, and 35 tons (39 US tons) were used to generate clean energy to power the sewage treatment plant. Cupero. The city council employs about 200 people to collect fruit.

Then, 35 tons of juice extraction are subjected to the biogas generation process, and the peel is converted into fertilizer for agriculture. Palop explained that during the purification process, the organic matter is stabilized in the wastewater by anaerobic digestion, which produces methane-rich biogas (65%), which is used as fuel for cogeneration engines.

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The plant is expected to generate approximately 1,500 kWh of electricity, equivalent to consuming 150 homes. To do this, the city needs to invest 250,000 euros (310,000 USD).

Tests showed that a 1,000 kg load would generate 50 kWh of electricity, enough to power five homes in one day. If all of the oranges in the city were recycled and energy returned to the grid, it could supply 73,000 homes.

The region produces around 15,000 tons of oranges, but most of the region’s fruits are exported to the UK and then converted into marmalade.

Orange Circular Economy

Seville also implemented an organic waste collection system established by the urban waste management company Contenur, which installed 340 containers in the city and delivered 340,000 e-cards to the public.

The mayor’s representative told Deutsche Welle that the city aims to encourage the selective collection of biological waste, increase recycling rates, increase public awareness of waste management and reduce the number of landfills.

This process consumes about 65% of the energy in a city water cycle. “Achieving self-sufficiency in the wastewater treatment plant is an obvious measure to mitigate the effects of climate change,” Ballup said.

Seville collected 5.7 million kilograms of fruit stored on the streets through 48,000 trees

Spain launched a plan to convert its entire electrical system to renewable energy by 2050 and completely decarbonize its economy shortly thereafter.

According to the country’s Energy Transition and Climate Change Act, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 90% from 1990 levels.

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“Emacisa is writing a guide to encourage other companies in the water sector to increase natural gas production through joint management of organic waste, and to promote this measure in other companies and cities,” Palop said.

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