Inauguration of Deep Purple Project’s Photobiorefinery at Linares Treatment Plant

Linares, October 2, 2023 – A momentous occasion unfolded today as the photobiorefinery of the Deep Purple project was officially inaugurated at the Linares Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). This pioneering venture is founded on Aqualia ANPHORA® technology, representing a game-changing approach to cost-effective wastewater purification through the use of purple bacteria. The ceremony was graced by the presence of notable figures, including Mayor Mª Auxiliadora Del Olmo, Secretary of State for the Environment Hugo Morán, Territorial Delegate of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development in Jaén Soledad Aranda, and Luisa Mascia, Project Officer from the Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking of the European Commission.

The Deep Purple project’s primary objective is to harness wastewater as a valuable energy resource, simultaneously enhancing the sustainability of the treatment process and championing the principles of the circular economy. Through this initiative, bioproducts are generated from wastewater, adding an innovative dimension to environmental protection and resource management.

This international undertaking, led by Aqualia’s R&D team and co-financed by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) under the European Horizon 2020 Programme, brings together a consortium of 14 entities from six countries, with a total budget of 9.5 million euros. Notably, Aqualia’s investment of over €650,000 has culminated in the construction of the world’s largest 100% solar anaerobic photobiorefinery at the Linares WWTP, solidifying the town’s global presence in this pioneering field.

Víctor Monsalvo, Project Coordinator and head of Aqualia’s Eco-efficiency Area, and Patricia Zamora, Project Head of Deep Purple, highlighted the project’s core objective: the purification of wastewater without conventional energy usage, instead relying on sunlight and purple bacteria. This groundbreaking approach positions the Linares facility as the world’s largest photobiorefinery employing ANPHORA® technology, further reinforcing its commitment to sustainability.

Víctor Monsalvo, Project Coordinator.

The infrastructure has an impressive treatment capacity of 350 m3 per day for urban wastewater. ANPHORA® technology, a collaborative development by Aqualia and the Rey Juan Carlos University, has been patented in Europe and is currently undergoing evaluation for protection in the United States.

Beyond its impressive scale, this facility exemplifies the principles of the circular economy by demonstrating how valuable products can be extracted from wastewater and urban biowaste resources. The plant yields up to 440 tons of bioproducts annually for commercial applications, with the added benefit of an annual reduction of 11,300 tons of CO2 emissions.

Victor Monsalvo Garcia giving tour of the facility.
Ectoine and Biomass, some of the bioproducts generated from wastewater.
Group picture