Microalgae are a highly productive, sustainable source of raw materials for both food and non-food products. Despite this potential the implementation of algae as a production platform is still limited because of the need to reduce production costs and increase output in order to improve profit margins. Another approach to enhance economic feasibility is biorefinery of the algae into multiple valuable products to enhance economic revenues.
The 5th Newsletter shows that significant progress is being made in the area of algae cultivation incl. CO2 concentration from air, real time monitoring of target products in the biomass, harvesting and recycling of water and nutrients as well as biorefinery of the algae biomass using (among others) “green” membrane-based separation processes. Good progress has also been made in the bioprospecting program for identification and selection of new robust industrial algal strains. Value chains have been selected for the demonstration activities in the Project which are now underway. Furthermore, good progress is being made in the techno-economic and sustainability assessment. With regard to product development various applications are being targeted, following an approach that focuses on establishing real consumer benefits in using microalgae derived products.
The overarching aim of the MIRACLES project (2013-2017) is to develop mild and environmentally friendly, integrated biorefinery technologies for production of specialties from established industrial strains for application in food, aquaculture and selected non-food applications. Products will be developed for these markets and the technology for algae production and biorefinery will be improved to reduce costs and lower the environmental footprint. Molecular tools will be developed for optimization of target products in the algal biomass. Development of membrane technology for combined harvesting and recycling of water and nutrients will enable substantial cost reduction of biomass production. Furthermore new industrial strains for extreme locations will be selected using bioprospecting and technology for CO2 concentration from the air for algal growth will be developed to enable stand-alone cultivation in remote areas such as deserts. The results will be evaluated via techno-economic analysis, Life Cycle Assessment and socio-economic impact assessment. Integrated value chains will be demonstrated to deliver proof-of-concept and demonstrate economic feasibility.
More about the project at http://miraclesproject.eu/index.php
Source: MIRACLES, 2016-10-11.