Toxic waste from olive oil production turned into electricity

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The leading Nordic fuel cell technology company PowerCell has announced a technology developing project to convert toxic waste from olive oil production into electricity.

Biogas2PEM-FC is an EU project that PowerCell coordinates. Together with partners from Spain, Greece, Sweden and the UK, a complete pilot plant has now been built in Andalucía, Spain.

The waste from olive oil production is environmentally harmful and costly to dispose of. It contains pesticides and toxic organic compounds, it is also acidic and has a high salinity. Currently the waste is turned to landfill, but which is very costly and becomes a major environmental problem.

The Biogas2PEM-FC project is an EU-funded project that PowerCell coordinates. Together with partners from Spain, Greece, Sweden and the UK, a complete conversion system has been developed. The project started two years ago and was finished last month.

The goal of the project has been to develop a technology to convert waste from the olive oil production, into electricity. A three-part subsystem was developed; the primary step is an anaerobic digestion reaction to produce biogas from the waste, the second step is a reformer to convert the biogas to a hydrogen rich gas (reformate), and a last step -the fuel cell system to make electricity from the reformate gas.

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