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:
- UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DELLA CAMPANIA LUIGI VANVITELL - Italy
- ENEA - Italy
- NOMASICO LTD - Cyprus
- THERACELL ADVANCED BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD - UK
- FYZIKALNY USTAV SLOVENSKEJ AKADEMIE VIED - Slovakia
- PNO INNOVATION - Belgium
- IRIS - Spain
- EXERGY LTD - UK
- VERTECH GROUP - France
- ECODUNA PRODUKTIONS GMBH - Austria
The Coordinator is the NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS - Greece
Algal cultivation and harvesting are carried out by using magnetic nanotechnologies.
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.
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.