Improving Botryococcus braunii cultivation as a source of hydrocarbons and exopolysaccharides

The SPLASH project will develop a new biobased industrial platform using microalgae as a renewable raw material for the sustainable production and recovery of hydrocarbons and (exo)polysaccharides from the species Botryococcus braunii and further conversion to renewable polymers. The green alga Botryococcus braunii is a potential source for the production of biobased building blocks such as adipic acid (a polysaccharide derivative) and both ethylene and propylene (hydrocarbon derivatives, such as botryococcenes or alkanes). The project comprises 20 partners of which 40% SME and several large corporates plus universities and research institutes.

Problem definition

At present, issues related to sustainability, the supply of renewable energy sources, the social and economic impacts of limiting fossil fuels, pose challenges to our modern society. To develop a biobased economy, both the exploration of new sources of natural materials that can yield high amounts of products and the development of novel biorefinery concepts to make use of these resources are required. Hydrocarbons and polysaccharides are produced by microalgae, yet their yields are too low for current commercial production.


To develop innovative cultivation and downstream concepts for improved growth, product enhancement, and integrated recovery of exopolysaccharides and hydrocarbons of the microalga Botryococcus braunii. The project aims to gain insights into the relation between physiological conditions and process conditions that relate to productivity and product formation of this alga.


 • Obtain insight into the relation between process conditions and physiological parameters such as growth rate and product formation for the microalgae Botryococcus braunii. Optimize growth and inprove productivity of hydrocarbons and polysaccharides.
• Develop in situ continuous technologies to recover and separate the products (hydrocarbons, polysaccharides)
• Develop a concept for an integrated industrial scale biomass production and product recovery facility for B.braunii.


This project is part of SPLASH, and funded by the seventh framework programme (FP7).

Thesis projects

There are opportunities for BSc and MSc students to do their thesis.  If you are interested send me an email.