The project

Non-IMpact BUS: Circular economy for sustainable transport

Towards circular economy in public transport

Nimbus is a European project co-funded by the LIFE Programme that aims to promote circular economy by generating biomethane from sewage sludge and power-to-gas technologies, and using it as a sustainable fuel for public transport.

Fossil fuels must be reduced to stop the climate crisis. However, over 90% of the fuels used for transport, a sector demanding around 30% of total primary energy consumption in Europe, are fossil fuels. In this context, the European Union aims to achieve over 30% of renewable fuels for transport by 2030.

NIMBUS aims to foster circular economy in public transport. To do so, this project will turn the Baix Llobregat WWP into an ecofactory that will generate biogas from sewage sludge. Likewise, it will use power-to-gas technologies to turn renewable energy surplus into gas. By combining both, NIMBUS will generate biomethane, a renewable and sustainable fuel suitable for public transport.

NAME: NIMBUS
FUNDING: LIFE programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action
BUDGET: €1,987,494
EU CONTRIBUTION: €1,093,120.00
DURATION: 39 months (September 2020- November 2023) 
COORDINATOR: Cetaqua Barcelona 
CONSORTIUM: Aigües de Barcelona, Genocov, Labaqua and  TMB
DEMONSTRATION SITE: Baix Llobregat WWTP (Barcelona, Spain)

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Timeline of the Nimbus project

Permits for the implementation

Description: Managing the necessary permits for the installation of the demo plant in the site. Duration: September 2020- November 2020

Design and construction of the power-to-gas plant based on biological methanation

Description: Including conditioning of the site infrastructure to place the demo plant, the design and construction of the biological methanation (and post-cleaning step) and the unit for hydrogen production, as well as the implementation together with the gas supply unit for vehicles. Duration: December 2020- December 2021

Start-up and operation of the biological methanation plant

Description: The start-up of the demo plant will take 6 months until it produces a stable biomethane flow, and will run continuously for 16 months. The operating conditions will be optimised and technically assessed, meeting quality requirements at the lowest cost. Duration: January 2022- November 2023

Biomethane use in Heavy duty vehicles (HDV)

Description: Biomethane will be used in public transport, specifically in a bus from the public transport in Barcelona for 16 months, according to the stable operation of the demo plant. The impact on the bus motor will be evaluated. Duration: July 2022- November 2023

Environmental and economic assessment

Description: The feasibility of the solution within the framework of the project will be evaluated considering the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic and social perspectives and fixing the limits of the studied scenarios. A Life Cycle Assessment, a Life Cycle Costing, a Social Life Cycle Analysis and a Cost-Benefit Analysis are planned. Duration: July 2022- November 2023 

Business model of the biomethane in the site

Description: The business model will be defined considering the characteristics of the site (Baix Llobregat WWTP and Barcelona city) involving the main actors. Duration: July 2022- February 2023 

Replication of the technical solution

Description: Selection of potential users and replication plan of the proposed solution in other municipalities at European level, which imply technical and commercial actions to adapt the solution to different biogas plants taking into account different scenarios, always focusing on sustainable transport. Duration: October 2022- May 2023 

Business plan of the technology

Description: Technical evaluation of the developed solution and scaling up to WWTP full capacity. Design and start the implementation of a business plan for the industrialization and commercialization of the solution. Duration: May 2023- November 2023