EnhanceMicroAlgae Project

Summary and aims

Microalgae production for high added value compounds is identified as a business sector with high growth potential in the coming decades, especially in the Atlantic Area. Barriers to improve an industrial use are dominated by a lack of technology expertise. This project will facilitate information transfer between a panel of experts and companies specializing in different areas (nutrients, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, feed, energy, etc) thus encouraging business cooperation among the different countries. The main objective is to contribute to the competitiveness of microalgal-based industries in the Atlantic Area.

What challenge does EnhanceMicroAlgae aim to address?

The project aims to reinforce the microalgae commercial sector through the improvement of production methods, the creation of joint business strategies and the access to technical and scientific knowledge.

This will be achieved by pursuing and facilitating an integration of knowledge in the microalgae commercial sector, according to the specific needs and interests: bulk production of selected species, technical innovations for culture intensification, and cost and environment efficient processing procedures for full valorisation of biomass. The ultimate objective is the integration of the knowledge into microalgae companies in order to improve efficiency, profitability, cooperation and the competitiveness of the whole sector.

Overall objective

Microalgae comprise 30,000+ known photosynthetic microorganisms; however, few are used commercially. This natural resource offers a great number of industrial possibilities by exploiting their chemical composition with growth manipulations. At the same time, this complexity can overwhelm enterprises entering this sector due to the great number of variables affecting economic and environmental viability. Despite developing scientific knowledge and interest from industry on the potential applications of microalgae, few have succeeded commercially.

This project will contribute to the competitiveness of microalgae-based industry in the Atlantic Area through the transfer of technological and economic expertise to the commercial sector. This consortium offers a wide range of skills and interests, with strong track records for science, production and exploitation of microalgae.

We will...

Undertake a comprehensive analysis of skills, skill gaps and opportunities in the microalgae sector (industrial/academic).

Develop case studies, supported by Decision Support Tools (DST), to increase economic performance and competitiveness with transfer of know-how from academic and technological centres to SMEs.

Analyze critical factors of operation from an environmental point of view.

Incorporate nanotechnology/new technologies to the microalgae sector.

Encourage the creation of spin offs and self-employment.