The 5th year of our 15-year roadmap for industrial algae production is about to start. We have analysed and quantified the achievements of the last 4 years to be able to define the research program for the next 5-years. The Economic model for cultivation has been improved and the first estimations on biorefinery costs have been made.
This has been presented in an open Workshop in June 2014 where 60 companies and governmental organisations were present. An AlgaePARC movie was launched showing the goals, achievements and ambitions of AlgaePARC.
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Using scalable experimental data from the AlgaePARC pilot facility, cost projections on microalgae cultivation have shown a 50% reduction in production costs in 4 years. A sensitivity analysis has pinpointed the parameters with an impact on cost reduction. This is the basis for the next phase in our research, AlgaePARC Innovation Center, that we are presently preparing. AlgaePARC Innovation Center comprises 3 flagships: product costs, sustainable production chain and market development. We will present our plans soon and invite industries and governments to join. We aim at starting this program in 2015.
The pilot plant reactors are still running outdoors. Different process strategies and parameters are being optimised, while experience is being gained in stable microalgae mass production outdoors. The interaction between fundamental research in the lab and applied research at pilot scale remains a crucial factor for our success. Results obtained outdoors demand more understanding to allow further improvement and the need for validation of lab results is each time more present.Step by step we reach our goal and bring sustainable and cost-effective algae production closer and closer.
Rene Wijffels and Maria Barbosa