`New System Recycles Waste Water from Olive Mills - Olive Oil Times

New System Recycles Waste Water from Olive Mills

Feb. 8, 2012
Pandora Penamil Penafiel

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The Andalusian com­pany Bioazul from Malaga, has devel­oped a recy­cling sys­tem, called Algatec, for the reuse of water after the wash­ing of olives. The process uses algae and sun­light to decon­t­a­m­i­nate wasted waters.

The tech­nol­ogy, devel­oped in the frame­work of a European project led by the Malaga com­pany, has been tested dur­ing the last cam­paign with very good results. In par­tic­u­lar, treated waters have achieved good qual­ity and 90 per­cent of the water used in a mill can be reused, a fig­ure that had been set in the project objec­tives. We have achieved drink­ing qual­ity in this treated water, in which no pol­lu­tion remains,” said Antonia Lorenzo, the project coor­di­na­tor at Bioazul.

The project has been tested in a pilot plant installed at the Almazara de la Cooperativa de los Desamparados, in Puente Genil (Córdoba ), and is ready for the final phase of devel­op­ment before its entry into the mar­ket.

The com­pany is now look­ing for ways to reduce invest­ment, oper­a­tion and main­te­nance costs for those plants inter­ested in the Algatec sys­tem. At the moment, what a mill would save on water con­sump­tion and in dis­charge canons would not off­set the sys­tem’s over­all cost.

Phases of the sys­tem

Algatec is a sys­tem that con­sists of three phases. The first one is a water fil­tra­tion, prior to the entry into the pho­to­biore­ac­tor.

In the sec­ond stage, the treat­ment occurs in the pho­to­biore­ac­tor, a trans­par­ent tube sys­tem, where microor­gan­isms purify the wash­ing water. During this phase, Algatec lever­ages the power of solar energy, while cap­tur­ing CO2 from the atmos­phere to be reused in bio­log­i­cal processes occur­ring within the sys­tem. This is where the com­pli­cated com­pounds are degraded.

Finally, the third phase of post-treat­ment is based on mem­brane fil­tra­tion, where water will finally become reusable with total qual­ity.” The pho­to­biore­ac­tor efflu­ent is stored in tanks and then passes through this mem­brane sys­tem, where it is fil­tered, and the result is a potable water.

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