FUEL4ME aims to exploit one the unique strengths of algae: the ability to produce lipids using energy from photosynthesis. The overall goal of FUEL4ME is to establish a sustainable chain for continuous production of lipids using microalgae as a production platform. These lipids form excellent starting material for the production of bulk products; the largest fraction of the lipids will be used for the production of biofuel and a smaller fraction will be used for food and feed components (ω3 fatty acids). This way optimal use of biomass results in simultaneous production of food and fuel.
This will be achieved by the following means;
- develop a continuous one-step process in which the lipid productivity in microalgal cultures is maximized (higher than 30.000 liter oil ha-1 y-1) and the lipid profile is optimized for simultaneous biofuel production and ω3 fatty acids for food/feed at low production (<1 € /Kg dry matter biomass; DSP costs < 0.5 €/kg product) and energy (NER of 2) costs.
- achieve a robust and reliable outdoor production process in closed photobioreactors (on land unsuitable for food production) with short downtime, continuous year round lipid production under different climates and weather conditions, and oil production of constant quality
- adopt and improve the most promising technologies for each individual conversion step up to the production of biofuel,
- use remaining biomass after lipid extraction, for the production of energy carriers (hydrogen) required for the conversion of lipids to biofuel to increase sustainability of the overall process
- recover high value lipids for food/feed to increase commercial viability of the entire process
- demonstrate economic feasibility of a fully integrated conversion process leading to principle guidelines for actual production plant construction and industrial operation principles;
- assess sustainability of the integrated process in terms of costs, energy balance and environmental impact;
- educate highly skilled personnel with expertise in algal microbiology, microalgal cultivation and processing, systems biology, and algal molecular biology and physiology
- prepare for commercialization by involving relevant industrial partners, by means of an industrial platform, and exploitation plan.