The project BIOGASMENA follows an innovative, integrated and multi-disciplinary approach for the development of biogas technology and know-how in the European Research Area (ERA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, combining technology transfer and laboratory research with academic exchanges, communication and training activities directed to both the general public, with a particular focus on young researchers. The project includes the following tasks: (1) building dry fermentation biogas plant at pilot scale, (2) building a hybrid energy system at pilot scale, combining biogas, solar and wind energies for autonomous electricity supply, (3) equipping biogas laboratories in Algeria and Tunisia, (4) investigating biogas production in the MENA region, in particular via dry fermentation (lab-scale and bench-scale), (5) including results into an online database for modeling of bioconversion kinetics, (6) optimizing digestate treatment, characterization and utilization, (7) investigating the combination of biogas production with microalgae cultivation, (8) LCA and techno-economic analyzes of biogas production in the MENA region, (9) training young researchers from the MENA region and (10) informing of the research community, farmers, and the general public about biogas technology.
A small-scale pilot plant of 5 m3, with a planned electrical power of 500 W will be built in Tunisia. A thermal solar heating system will be implemented to maintain the temperature of the reactors. The biogas plant will be integrated into a hybrid system with solar photovoltaic and wind energy for grid-independent (island) electricity production, and serve as a demonstration platform for future research in the MENA region.