Project Description

BioAlgaeSorb will focus on enabling European SMEs to remediate wastes, reduce Green House Gass emissions and produce biofuels via microalgae cultivation.

The project addresses specific needs of several key European SME groupings, via integration of technologies for effluent water remediation and production and exploitation of microalgae biomass for mitigation of climate change (renewable energy generation, carbon dioxide capture) as well as production of valuable bio-products using a biorefinery approach.

The overall aims of the project are to:

  • Increase knowledge on bioconversion of industrial and agricultural/aquacultural effluents to microalgae biomass, as a sustainable raw material for biofuels and other value added applications;
  • Provide new carbon neutral fuel sources for biomass power plants and biodiesel manufacture;
  • Provide new sources of sustainable and carbon neutral high quality fine chemicals extracted from microalgae biomass;
  • Reduce the discharge of CO2 to the atmosphere from biomass and fossil fuel power plants and other industrial processes reliant on combustion of fossil fuels;
  • Reduce the nutrient loading of effluent waters from livestock production systems which are responsible for the largest proportion of organic waste in Europe, including most ammonia emissions;
  • Increase know how and competence within a range of European SME-dominated industries.

The technologies to be developed include the recovery and use of nutrients in waste waters to support the growth of photosynthetic microalgae (phytoplankton) which will also sequester CO2, generating a natural product base from which can be derived biofuels, food supplements (e.g. fatty acids, proteins, pigments) and other biochemical fractions which hold potential as feedstock for the traditional, fossil oil based chemical industry. To date, these concepts have been commercially realised for only a small number of individual applications and in limited geographic locations (mainly outside the EU), owing to a range of technological hurdles that this project seeks to overcome.

Chief amongst these is the need to develop a holistic approach to the design and operation of closed microalgae photobioreactors coupled with large scale open reactors and the downstream processing of biomass captured, chemical treatment, fractionation and transformation. Each of these processes, typically the realm of a single SME grouping, requires specialized knowledge to optimize and yet must be considered in conjunction with the associated up- and down-stream processes. In short, the successful exploitation of this opportunity requires the concerted effort of a range of SME AGs and individual SMEs, aided by the technical expertise of the European research base.