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SEAT and Aqualia team-up in Spanish wastewater to vehicle fuel project

SEAT and Aqualia have joined forces in a development project to produce biomethane at a Spanish wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and use it as fuel in compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles.

Spanish automaker SEAT, a brand of Germany-headed Volkswagen Group and Aqualia, the water management arm of Spain-based environmental services company FCC Medio Ambiente, have joined forces in a development project to produce and upgrade biogas at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). The biomethane is then to be used as fuel in compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles or injected into the gas grid.

SEAT has provided Aqualia with two SEAT Leon TGI vehicles to conduct the necessary testing with the biomethane obtained from the Jerez de la Frontera wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to confirm and verify the entire production chain until the fuel is obtained and used (photo courtesy Volkswagen Group).

For the project SEAT has provided Aqualia with two SEAT Leon TGI vehicles to conduct the necessary testing with the biomethane from the Jerez de la Frontera wastewater treatment plant (photo courtesy Volkswagen Group).

Both companies have begun performing pilot tests at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) located in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz). As part of their collaboration, SEAT has provided Aqualia with two SEAT Leon TGI vehicles to conduct the necessary testing with the biomethane obtained from the WWTP to confirm and verify the entire production chain until the fuel is obtained and used.

CNG-strategy

According to Dr Matthias Rabe, Vice-President for R&D at SEAT the automaker is fully behind this collaboration, as it is a firm commitment to an alternative to petroleum products and aligned with its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) strategy. The project with Aqualia enables SEAT to become the first brand in the country’s automotive sector to use 100 percent Spanish biomethane obtained from wastewater treatment.

– Fostering the creation of renewable alternative fuels, which help promote future environmental improvements and the long-term use of vehicles in cities are an integral part of SEAT’s CNG strategy, said Rabe.

– We are working to change the current paradigm, leaving behind the model in which treatment implies a significant energy cost. This project is the result of the intense research activity developed by Aqualia to obtain valuable resources from the wastewater treatment process, said Félix Parra, General Director of Aqualia.

SMART Green Gas

The SEAT and Aqualia collaboration is part of a larger project called SMART Green Gas. Under the leadership of Aqualia, the aim of the five-year SMART Green Gas project is to produce biomethane from municipal and agro-industrial waste. The project consortium also includes Gas Natural Fenosa, EDP-Naturgas Energía, Biogas fuel cell, Diagnostiqa, Dimasa Grupo and Ecobiogas. The initiative has funding from the CIEN Programme run by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) and an overall budget of EUR 8 million. The project constitutes a step forward in the development of a circular economy and transition to more sustainable cities. In addition, it will help drive research and the creation of alternative fuels in the Spanish automotive sector by producing local and renewable biomethane enabling significant carbon dioxide reductions on a “Well-to-Wheels” (WtW) comparison with vehicles using conventional fossil fuels.

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