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Pilot project transforms Seville’s bitter oranges into biogas

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Seville’s iconic oranges are being transformed into biogas under a new initiative.

Emasesa, a public water company, is running a pilot project to generate clean energy from the bitter oranges the city is famous for, at its wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

Currently, the streets of Seville are home to around 50,000 orange trees and the forecast for the orange harvesting campaign this year is 5.7 million kilos, after an increase in yield of 37.5% compared to the previous season. A proportion of the oranges are exported to the UK to make marmalade, however, the majority end up being wasted.

Every year, the city spends millions on disposing of the oranges after they fall onto the streets. The recovery of oranges from public roads is an example of a circular economy and a commitment to mitigating climate change in the water supply and sanitation process.

In this pilot project, juice is extracted to generate biogas to supply the Copero de Emasesa WWTP. With 1,000 kilos of oranges, the equivalent power used by five homes in one day can be generated.

The husks, which cannot be used to generate energy, are turned into compost to be reused in the fields surrounding Seville.