Program At A Glance

  Funding Agencies

Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation


  Program Period 2017-2020
  Action Acronym BIOGASMENA
  Project Number 72-026
  Action Name Demonstration of dry fermentation and optimization of biogas technology forrural communities i n the MENA (MiddleEast & North Africa) region
  Coordinator University of Hohenheim, Germany
  Cyprus Host Organisation  Nireas - International Water research Center, University of Cyprus



University of Verona, ITaly
AUA (Agricultural University of Athens), Greece
EGE University, Turkey
Université des Sciences et Technologies d’Oran (USTO), Algeria
LBE (Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l’Environnement) of INRA, France
IMDEA (Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies), Spain
CBS (Centre de Biotechnologie de Sfax), Tunisia
Nenufar, France
ERM, France
FnBB e.V. (Fördergesellschaft für nachhaltige Biogas- und Bioenergienutzung), Germany
University of Cairo, Egypt

RTD Talos Ltd, Cyprus
S.K. Euromarket Ltd, Cyprus

  Nireas-IWRC Contact Dr. Despo Fatta-Kassinos
  Project Website  
  Budget 1.349.062 €

Budget for Cyprus

174.952,56 €



The project BIOGASMENA follows an innovative, integrated and multi-disciplinary approach for the
development of biogas technology and know-how in the ERA and the MENA region, combining technology
transfer and laboratory research with academic exchanges, communication and training activities directed to
both the general public, especially small farmers from the MENA region, and the academic community, 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 in lab-scale
and bench-scale experiments, (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 designs for
biogas production in the MENA region, (9) training young researchers from the MENA region in EU, in
particular by following CIHEAM courses (10) informing of the research community, farmers, and the general
public about biogas technology.

A small-scale pilot plant of 5m3, with a planned electrical power of 500W will be built in Tunisia with
concerted efforts from the partners. 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.

Research laboratories in the MENA region will be equipped. In Tunisia as well, dry fermentation reactors will
be built at the laboratory and coupled with a module for dewatering and ultrafiltration, which will be
connected to microalgae cultures. In Algeria, a highly efficient, patented methane potential assay developed
previously at the University of Hohenheim, will be installed. In the MENA region and EU, concerted research
efforts will be carried out to optimize the biogas process, in particular with dry fermentation, focusing on
temperature level, structure of the feedstocks, nutrient balance, as well as trace metals supply and

The quality and maturity of digestates from dry fermentation will be analyzed, and tested for plant growth in
pot experiments. Furthermore, innovative digestate treatment methods will be tested, including a system for
ammonia recovery during drying of digestate, and the cultivation of saline microalgae and mixotrophic
microalgae fed with the liquid fraction of digestate.

Young Researchers from the MENA region will move to EU to work on practical topics of the project.
Promising young students will be sent to CIHEAM-IAMB in Bari to follow the International Master course in
Land and Water Engineering, with second-year secondments on the project.

Finally, experiences of rural communities in Egypt with household biogas production based on Indian-type
digesters will be analyzed, and the techno-economic potential for the implementation of dry fermentation for
electricity production will be studied.

The acronym of this project shows exactly its approach, as it stands for the use of ECVET System for the recognition of work-based
continuous Vocational Education and Training for the personnel of Environmental Testing Laboratories. This project aspires to create
together and exchanging knowledge between the key players who can, together, address the future techno-economic,
governance and societal challenges arising from climate change. It will boost international and interdisciplinary skills, as well
as careers perspective of Experienced Researchers, Early Stage Researchers, and the workforce of industry, water utilities
and public organizations. The results will 1) benefit water utilities, 2) support political and managerial decisions in
wastewater, 3) benefit wastewater equipment manufacturers, identifying new market opportunities in the EU, 4) benefit EU
citizens from the improved wastewater infrastructure, the environment and job creations.
Higher precipitation and more frequent storms will require change in sewer water management. Moreover, higher risks of
water scarcity and droughts require increased wastewater reuse, currently at 20% of its potential in the EU. These changes
will lead to increased energy demand in a sector that is already a major contributor of carbon emissions. ALICE will promote
effective solutions based on innovative technologies, green infrastructures, climate vulnerability assessments, governance
and economic models, embracing stakeholders’ and citizens’ views to overcome barriers to the acceptance and uptake of
new technologies. The excellence of the project lies in the joined-up thinking of different perspectives and disciplines.
Academic and non-academic partners along the wastewater value-chain will exchange knowledge, develop training,
research and innovation activities. ALICE will build lasting knowledge and cooperation networks and will provide the no