The European project LIFE NIMBUS bets for the ecofactory to promote the circular economy in Barcelona

The European project LIFE NIMBUS bets for the ecofactory to promote the circular economy in Barcelona

  • LIFE NIMBUS contributes to the circular economy by generating biomethane, from sewage sludge and using it as fuel, to feed a bus of the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) fleet. It also promotes the power-to-gas concept, a solution that allows the storage of excess renewable energy
  • The project, which proposes a model of green energy and transport in Barcelona, is coordinated by Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, and has as partners Aigües de Barcelona, Labaqua, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) 

LIFE NIMBUS kicks off. The project improves the circular economy between the city and the wastewater treatment plants by implementing a new sustainable model: the ecofactoryA concept that turns the traditional wastewater treatment plant into a facility that generates valuable resources. In this way, the waste from the treatment plants (sludge) will be used as gas fuel to promote green transport in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. At the same time, it promotes power-to-gas technology to store the excess of renewable energies.

Within this framework, the Baix Llobregat wastewater treatment plant, managed by Aigües de Barcelona, will be responsible for revaluing the waste by producing biomethane suitable for injection into transport.

The project has partners that collaborate together with Cetaqua, project coordinator, such as Aigües de Barcelona, operator of the Baix Llobregat wastewater treatment plant; Labaqua, in charge of the design and construction of the biological methanation unit; Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), which will provide a bus of its fleet with a daily route of 100 km; and the research group of the GENOCOV Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in charge of the design, construction and development of the bio-electrochemical technology (BES).

This project, financed by the European Commission and framed in the LIFE Programme, also has the support of the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona.

Promoting ecofactories implies transforming the activity of cities towards a circular economy

LIFE NIMBUS promotes the concept of ecofactories as a solution to promote the circular economy and reduce the environmental impact in Barcelona. Thanks to the research and collaboration between the public and private sectors, we aim to demonstrate the technical capacity and economic viability of Power-to-Gas technology for the conversion of electrical energy into gas based on biological processes to produce biomethane.

To achieve this, a demonstration plant for biological methanation will be designed, built and operated at the Baix Llobregat wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The biomethane produced, used to power a public bus of the TMB fleet, is the opportunity to link the generation of renewable electricity with the decarbonization of the transport sector, which demands about 33% of total primary energy consumption in Europe. This will encourage energy consumption from renewable sources and bring the city of Barcelona closer to the proposed climate neutrality by 2050.