Spanish university develops new seaweed cleaning technology

By Chris Hanson | May 10, 2013

Researchers at Spain’s University of Alicante invented a system capable of washing, drying and compacting seaweed to produce biomass fuel.

Led by Irene Sentana Gadea, a professor at the University of Alicante, the researchers invented a three-hopper system that leaves up to 80 percent of seaweed water and sand on the beach. First, wet seaweed laden with sand is loaded into the first hopper. From there, pumped seawater is added, drawing sand away from the harvested seaweed back to the sea. As a moving bed transports the seaweed, the next hopper utilizes purified water to clean excess salt from the algae. The seaweed is dried in the last hopper before being baled or pelletized, then transported.

Current systems have to ship waste seawater and sand to treatment plants or landfills, whereas this technology would save waste management transportation costs. Other system’s shortcomings include beach deterioration, limited uses for dead seaweed and landfill saturation.

Gadea and fellow researcher Eloy Sentana Cremades were not available to comment on the project.