Harvesting of microalgae is challenging and expensive due to small cell size and relatively low concentration. Several pre-treatment methods are employed, depending on the feedstock and desired products (chemical, enzymatic, physical, involving ionic liquids). The wide variability of microalgal feedstock composition and optimal growth conditions means that there is no one-fits-all solution; cultivation, harvesting and processing must be tailored to each species and targeted product.
The specific challenge is to scale up and lower the costs of microalgae cultivation combined with downstream processing towards commercial valorisation of marketable products.
Demonstrate the efficient and sustainable cultivation, recovery and processing of microalgae and downstream production of high-value chemicals and/or materials including food and feed ingredients.
The scope of this topic excludes energy carriers (such as liquid fuels or hydrogen) as the main products.
Proposals should aim for large-scale continuous cultivation and recovery of microalgae, as well as separation and purification of the targeted products.
Proposals should also aim at reducing inputs for microalgae cultivation such as energy, water, nutrients and CO2 (or other carbon sources in case heterotrophic microalgae are envisaged).
Proposals should valorise as many as possible of the valuable compounds contained in the microalgae through a cascading approach.
Proposals should demonstrate that the quality of the obtained products meets the requirements of specific market applications.
Proposals should address all requirements for IA - demonstration actions as shown in Table 3 in the Introduction of the Annual Work plan 2019.
The technology readiness level (TRL) at the end of the project should be 6-7. Proposals should clearly state the starting and end TRLs of the key technology or technologies targeted in the project.
Source: The European Commission
Illustration Photo: Microalgae farming (credits: Texas A&M AgriLife / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))