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Wetlands, Algae and Biogas (WAB)
Start date: Jan 31, 2010, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Baltic Sea is under great environmental stress. The human impact has disturbed the ecological balance, and eutrophication is one of the most severe environmental problems. The nutrient leakage to the sea stimulates an over production of undesirable macro algae that accumulate in shallow waters, especially along the unique and very sensitive sandy coasts of the SB Sea. The overload of algae damages the eco system, e.g. important fish populations. Nutrient leakage also leads to massive, sometimes toxic, blooms occurring during tourist seasons. This is a serious threat to the coastal tourism in the SB area and, accordingly, to the local economies that highly depend on the tourism industry. The project aims to serve as a regional joint model for sustainable water management and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in the SB Sea. Together with farmers, the project will show how nutrient leakage can be decreased, and algae blooms reduced through harvest of wetlands and collection of algae along the coastal zone. Actions to reduce leakage (component 3) and remove nutrients reaching the sea (component 4) by new techniques will be tested in the project. The collected algae will be fermented into biogas (component 5). The biogas will be utilized as transportation fuel and for heating and electric power. The nutrients in the algae will, after the biogas fermentation, be re-used as fertilizers. This means that we can achieve an integrated system with functional regional cycles.The SB area has a strong tourism sector with high recreational values that are negatively influenced by algae accumulating along the coast. There is an obvious gap in the SB-area between the south-east and north-west when it comes to handling the problems with eutrophication. One important aim of the project is to reduce this gap by transfer of knowledge, ideas and techniques within the region. To apply the ICZM concept of transforming a problem into a resource by preventing eutrophication through biogas production has several benefits for the region. It aims to: • improve recreational values of the coast, and in the long term the regional economy. • stimulate biodiversity and decrease nutrient leakage from farmlands by harvest of wetlands. • make shallow coastal waters available for juvenile fish and other important organisms. • remove Phosphorus and Nitrogen from the Baltic and recycle it to arable land (Phosphorus is a limited resource that needs to be conserved to secure future food production). In short, the project offers an innovative holistic approach by constructing a cycle previously unseen in the BS. The project has a potential to spread the findings throughout the SB Region which would bring environmental, social and economical benefits to the SB area. Achievements: All parts of the WAB-cycle are implemented, wetlands for reducing eutrophication and producing biomass have been tested and evalutaed, algae machines have been tested, algae have been collected and used in biogas production. Important information on heavy metals in residuals have been gained. Monitoring of algae occurence and effects on biodiversity have been conducted. Education programs, workshops and conferences on farm based biogas have been held. The project newsletter has been published at regular intervals with co-operation from all partners. Information about the project is being successfully spread by all partners in their respective fields and locations so information has reached relevant interested parties.Significant interest has been generated and this can be seen from the international, national and local response that the project has receieved.
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  • 2007 - 2013 South Baltic (PL-SE-DK-LT-DE)
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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