Going big with microalgae biotechnology

Sun, seawater and sewage: microalgae can thrive on feedstock that is freely available and the resulting biomass can be used to make high-value products such as biostimulants and biopesticides. But can this be done viably on a large scale? Let us demonstrate, say EU-funded researchers building an integrated biorefinery.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 22 December 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodMarine resources & aquaculture
Bioeconomy
EnvironmentClean technology and recycling
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Czech Republic  |  Germany  |  Hungary  |  Italy  |  Spain
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Going big with microalgae biotechnology

Picture of the Sea

© Valery Bocman - fotolia.com

The SABANA project focuses on a biorefinery approach by which microalgae fed on suitable effluents and seawater serve to produce a variety of useful substances for agriculture and aquaculture. Particular attention is dedicated to the environmental and economic sustainability of the processes that the partners are developing or upgrading in view of the construction of a commercial-scale demonstrator facility.

Partners from five countries are involved in this four-year endeavour launched in December 2016, which is led from Spain by the University of Almería. The biorefinery approach they are championing is a way to recover nutrients that might otherwise go down the drain – notably phosphorus, which the EU cannot afford to squander. The SABANA team intends to achieve a zero-waste process that requires very little energy and does not add to the pressure on limited freshwater supplies.

More specifically, three types of waste are to feed the partners’ microalgae: sewage, pig manure and the liquid separated out from sludge by means of centrifugation. The biomass grown on these nutrient-rich effluents will then be processed to derive a variety of bio-based products, which include pesticides, biostimulants and feed additives. Residues of the project’s harvests are to be converted into biofertiliser, as well as feed for use in aquaculture.

Project details

  • Project acronym: SABANA
  • Participants: Spain (Coordinator), Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary
  • Project N°: 727874
  • Total costs: € 10 646 705
  • EU contribution: € 8 848 523
  • Duration: December 2016 to November 2020

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