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Algae Production and Research Centre

More:  Institute 
Acronym: AlgaePARC
Period: January 2011 till December 2015
Status: Completed

Institute  Top 
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre; University of Wageningen, more

In order for microalgae to become a commercial and sustainable feedstock for energy and bulk products, economic feasibility still needs to be achieved and energy requirement needs to decrease. Decreasing the current price for microalgae implies technological development and the integration of different processes in order to use free nutrients from residual streams. In addition, increasing the total income by co-production of compounds with commercial value (bulk and fine chemicals, food and feed ingredients) will help reaching economic feasibility.
Wageningen University and Research Centre currently has several on-going research projects on microalgae. A lot of basic knowledge is generated from fundamental research projects. Projects focus on individual elements. These elements need to be integrated, need to be applied on a larger scale and must perform well under continuously changing conditions. Scale up is usually done step by step, each time increasing the scale by a factor of 10. There is an urgent need to implement the process at a larger scale as quickly as possible and, therefore, it would be tempting to go directly to the demonstration stage, or even full-scale plants. Should this approach be opted for, there is a high risk of mistakes being made and investments thus being lost. For that reason, we will respect the design rule of scaling up, but reducing the time steps by starting pilot research in parallel to the laboratory research in benefit of both.
The main objective in realizing the potential is to reduce production costs and energy requirements and to increase the biomass value by making use of all algae biomass components. For cost and energy reduction both cell properties and bioreactor need to be improved and this will be the focus of this project.

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