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Algae and aquatic biomass for a sustainable production of 2nd generation biofuels. (AQUAFUELS)

AquaFUELS intends to focus on establishing the state-of-the-art on research, technological development and demonstration activities regarding the exploitation of various algal and other suitable non-food aquatic biomasses for 2nd generation biofuels production. In this frame an overall assessment, critical thinking and reasoning are necessary to draft the lines of future developments. This will respond to the need of understanding the place of algae and aquatic biomass in the present and future renewable energy sources portfolio in EU, with a careful eye to sustainability and social implications. Such action can be effective only involving major stakeholders, defining the present situation in a realistic perspective and this way providing a valuable contribution to shape future developments. AquaFUELS aims to draw the detailed, comprehensive and concrete picture of the actual status quo of EU and international initiatives on algae biofuels. Based on this work, AquaFUELS will successively elaborate an overall assessment on the technology, and identify major research and industrial needs. The surveys and assessments produced by AquaFUELS will address the full life cycle analysis - from collection to fuel use - in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability. A major mean to reach project goals will be the coordination of a critical mass of ongoing research activities, which will be actively involved in the preparation of surveys as well as in the elaboration of the assessment studies and identification of future needs. Creating and maximizing synergies among these initiatives is one of major project results. Finally, the project will establish the first European Algae Association that will promote mutual interchange and cooperation in the field of algal biomass research, production and use.

Universidad de Almería

This Project is not focused on the development of new technologies or processes, since then no new patents or spin-off would be promoted. Thus the project is focussed on the integration of actual knowledge in the field and its public dissemination as reference documents for the major stakeholders in the field.

The Chemical Engineering Department at the UAL started the research activity in microalgal biotechnology in 1987. The research activity in the last years spans several bioprocess at different development steps: (i) industrial exploitation of algal biotechnology for fine chemicals production, (ii) Integrated system for biological abatement of flue gases from power plants by using microalgae, (iii) physic-chemical and enzymatic methods for algal oil recovery and processing, (iv) photobioreactor engineering, (v) biorefinery based. The group of “Biotechnology of marina microalgae” will contribute to the overall project as consultant, but mainly in the fields of microalgae biomass production and downstream to produce biodiesel. The group will actively participate in the documents summarizing the state-of-the-art in the production of microalgae biomass and biodiesel from it, by adding its experience in the last twenty years in the field. Also documents summarizing future trends will be elaborated, the group participating at the selection and identification of future strategic lines in this technology.

EU Scientific and Industrial Association on algae and other aquatic biomass will be created, opened to all stakeholders interested to join and contribute, starting from a core group represented by project partners. The general objective of this EU Association will be to promote mutual interchange and cooperation in the field of algal biomass production and use. It will aim at creating, developing and maintaining solidarity and links between its Members and at defending their interests at European and international level. Its main target will be to act as a catalyst for fostering synergies among scientists, industrialists and decision makers in order to promote the development of research, technology and industrial capacities in the field of algae.

AquaFUELs aims at providing clear overview of the actual state-of-the-art of Algae and their use for biofuels production. These views will be helpful to support the research improvements still needed to guarantee that such a promising alternative feedstock for biofuels will find its right place in the EU portfolio. AquaFUELs puts together the biofuels value chains and the Algae value chain, creating an ideal platform to allow the effective structuring of still rather scattered field.

Biotechnology of marine microalgae

Code PAIDI: BIO173

Emilio Molina Grima. Socio. 

Universidad de Almería

Budget of Andalusian group: € 64,731.00

    Keywords: Biomass, Biofuels
    Duration: 18 months. January, 1th 2010 to June, 30th 2011
    Project cost: € 869,001.00