Endesa and Algavillage secure an agreement that will see the Litoral microalgae plant remain open for the next 10 years

Microalgae plant at the Litoral thermal power plant (Almería).
Microalgae plant at the Litoral thermal power plant (Almería).
  • Algavillage (Microalgas Carboneras, S.L.), a joint venture between British investment company Firglas and Biorizon Biotech, dedicated to the production of biotechnological solutions for use in agriculture, will invest more than 3 million euros in the project.
  • This alliance with Algavillage forms part of the Futur-e Plan undertaken by Endesa at the Litoral plant to achieve a fair transition after its closure. To this end, Endesa forecasts around 1,200 megawatts of renewable power in the province of Almeria, mainly from photovoltaic sources, to replace the 1,159 megawatts of power generated by the Litoral thermal power plant. It has also launched an international tender to identify an industrial project that entails a proposal for the economic and occupational reactivation of Carboneras.

According to the agreement reached, Algavillage, a company constituted by the British-owned Firglas and Biorizon Biotech, will invest more than 3 million euros in the construction of a new microalgae plant for its operation over a period of 10 years with the potential for renewal. This means that the Litoral microalgae production project, which started out in 2006 with a view to generating new products and increasing the profitability of microalgae cultivation technology on an industrial scale, will continue its research and development undertakings once the plant is closed.

The new plant to be built by Algavillage will create jobs in the area during the plant assembly period and its subsequent operation and maintenance.

The new investments will focus on obtaining high quality raw material that can be used in food. Microalgae are one of the biggest superfoods, offering countless health benefits, including its Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids content.

The Omega-3 fatty acids obtained from microalgae offer benefits as part of their extraction process when compared to those obtained from other sources such as fish as, in addition to being a more sustainable process, this generates fewer by-products than the method used when extracted from fish.

This initiative responds to Endesa's commitment to undertake a fair energy transition through its Futur-e Plan that, in addition to replacing Litoral's generation capacity with clean and renewable technologies, entails the generation of wealth and employment in Carboneras through the development of industrial projects that meet social and environmental sustainability criteria.

The microalgae plant at the Litoral thermal power plant, spanning 1,500 m2, has been performing research work for 15 years to demonstrate the use of microalgae for CO2 capture and fixation and its extracts that are of interest to the food sector.

During this period, it has participated in different research projects at a European and national level, including Algae for a Healthy World, a consortium dedicated to producing microalgae biocomposites with food applications constituted by AINIA, the Center for Biological Research (CSIC-CIB), Mar Cristal Marilum, Neoalgae Micro Seaweeds Products, Novatec and the University of Cádiz with a view to developing the biotechnological tools required to improve and optimise the production of biomass of marine origin.

Futur-e Litoral Plan

In 2020 Endesa launched the Futur-e Plan for these installations and it aims to contribute to mitigating the impact that these closures may have on the local population through 4 axes: A proactive search for employment; promoting economic activity in the area; training in skills for the local population and sustainability initiatives within the municipality.

To this end, in addition to the agreement with Algavillage, Endesa has launched an international tender to search for projects that facilitate economic and industrial development on the land occupied by Carboneras Litoral Thermal Power Plant and its port terminal, once it has been closed and dismantled. This tender is currently in the assessment phase, with the constitution of the working table that will analyse the feasibility of the 14 proposals submitted.

Furthermore, Endesa will also install some 1,200 megawatts of renewable power, mainly photovoltaic, which will replace the 1,159 megawatts of power produced by the Litoral thermal power plant so as to replace the capacity generated by this thermal power plant with clean and renewable technologies. This will involve investing hundreds of millions of euros, new employment opportunities and training in renewable energies to improve the employability of the local population.

Endesa is in constant contact with the main players involved in the Futur-e Litoral Plan, as well as with local, regional and national administrations, to coordinate the whole process in order to create shared value with all those involved and to achieve a fair transition towards new business models.

 

Biorizon Biotech

Biorizon Biotech is dedicated to the field of biotechnology. Its studies and developments have focused from the outset on multiple microalgae, cyanobacteria and bacteria applications in the field of intensive and ecological agriculture, developing unique techniques and processes to improve plant and fruit growth and develop biopesticides that replace today's chemical products.

It boasts different facilities, with ÁGORA-SABANA worth particular note; this is the largest plant in Europe for the indoor cultivation of microalgae focussing on agricultural applications. It also has processing and preparation plants for its products used in agriculture and animal feed.

 

Firglas

Firglas is a London-based developer and construction firm specialising in industrial microalgae and bacteria production facilities with a history of investing more than £150 million in this field. The company approaches existing markets through a model based on the efficient use of resources and a quantifiable positive impact.

Together, Firglas and Biorizon Biotech have founded Microalgas Carboneras, S.L., under the trade name ALGAVILLAGE, to run these production facilities.

 

About Endesa

Endesa is the largest electricity company in Spain and the second largest in Portugal. The company is also the second largest gas operator in the Spanish market. Endesa operates an end-to-end business from generation to marketing and through Endesa X also offers value-added services aimed at the decarbonisation of energy uses in homes, companies, industries and public administrations. Endesa is firmly committed to the United Nations SDGs and therefore strongly supports the development of renewable energies through Enel Green Power España, the electrification of the economy and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Endesa Foundation is also active in CSR. Our workforce numbers around 9,600 employees. Endesa is a division of Enel, the largest electricity group in Europe.

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