Aquatic biomass, such as microalgae, seaweeds and aquatic plants, has considerable potential to meet part of the rising demand for biomass. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research focuses on the sustainable production and valorisation of aquatic biomass in close cooperation with Wageningen Plant Research.
Plenty of interest
Aquatic biomass is in the spotlight as the cultivation of this type of biomass does not require agricultural land. Furthermore, aquatic biomass often contains a lot of protein and, in the case of microalgae, oils. The aquatic biomass with which we work includes microalgae and seaweeds.
Their rapid growth and richness in protein and oils give biomass from algae the potential for high returns. Algae yield more dry matter per hectare than normal agricultural products. Moreover, algae can be used as a raw material for fish and animal feed and for high-quality applications such as medications and food supplements. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is involved in the production and harvesting of algae as well as the development of algae-specific biorefinery technologies.
Cultivation and processing of seaweed is new in the Netherlands. Seaweed has a different biochemical composition than the common types of biomass in the country, which means that conventional fractionation and chemical conversion technologies are not easy to apply. Seaweed is traditionally used for a variety of applications, such as food, food additives and pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. But seaweed can also serve as raw material for chemicals, materials and energy. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research focuses on biorefinery concepts which use the entire crop and extract both proteins and sugars from seaweed, for instance. New biorefinery concepts for seaweed are a current research topic at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.