EU project to improve cultivation and extraction of microalgae

The project - part of the EU Horizon 2020 program - is intended to reduce the cost of producing algae-derived food, nutrachemicals and cosmetics.
The project is called
Valuable Products from Algae Using New Magnetic Cultivation and Extraction Techniques (VALUEMAG) and started in April 2017.
The participants are:


The Coordinator is the
NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS - Greece

Algal cultivation and harvesting are carried out by using magnetic nanotechnologies.

Microalgal cultivation
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPAN) are introduced into microalgae protoplasm to give them magnetic properties. The magnetic microalgae (MAGMA) are then immobilised onto a soft magnetic conical surface (SOMAC) and covered with a thin layer of continuously circulating water. This process is carried out in a greenhouse to provide sunlight, minimise contamination, and provide relatively predictable temperatures and humidity. These innovations allow optimum cultivation, enhance biomass production and lower production costs.

Microalgal extraction
Biomass is directly used to produce pharmaceutical products, nutraceuticals, food additives and cosmetics. These products will be extracted by supercritical CO2 extraction, while a new selective magnetic separation method for precise selection of value-added products will be also developed. Carbon dioxide and water are recirculated.