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Production of biofuels from micro-algae with a high content of starch and lipids using flue gas co2 as a carbon source

Combustion carbon dioxide from municipal waste incinerators will be converted into micro-algal biomass. Controlled enhancement of algal starch and lipid synthesis enables exploitation of the biomass as a raw material for biofuel production.

TERMIZO, a joint stock company, (A.S.), has built and currently operates the most efficient Czech incinerator of municipal solid waste in the North Bohemian town Liberec. It has been proven that its residual pollution is lower than the 10% level of current European limits for contamination of a flue gas by heavy metals and organic persistent compounds (dioxins); this manifests a high quality of installed technology and its efficient function. Carbon dioxide is the only compound affecting the environment, which cannot be removed from flue gases using current methods. Worldwide attention is being paid to this gas because of its negative effect on global warming. Taking into account that 45 million tons of organic waste per year is combusted in the EU, new ways leading to a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions generated by combustion of waste are very important. During our previous investigation carried out under the EUREKA BIOFIX project, we proved that reducing carbon dioxide emissions via photosynthetic bio-fixation into fast growing freshwater micro-algae of the genus Chlorella is very efficient. The running tests even surpass our expectation concerning the utilisation of the municipal waste incinerator flue gas for photo-bioreactor carbon dioxide supply. On the basis of our current results, the knowledge obtained during the long-term expertise concerning micro-algae, and up-to-date worldwide discussion on biofuels, we believe we should focus our efforts on the exploitation of micro-algal biomass for biofuel purposes. The Czech cultivation system (Cz.Pat. 279579,1995, Greek Pat.1002924, 1998, U.S.A. Pat. 598127 A, 1999) developed by the Institute of Microbiology ASCR in Trebon has an edge on currently known alternative systems: the micro-algal suspension flows in only a several millimeters-thick layer down an inclined area exposed to the sunlight. The intensive turbulence and thin suspension layer enables efficient utilisation of the solar energy and linear growth to high harvesting densities. The source of carbon dioxide for the growth of algae derived from the combustion of municipal solid waste processed by the TERMIZO reduces the price of the algal biomass and extends its utilisation for biofuel purposes. During the proposed project, the thin-layer cultivation system will be modified in order to produce micro-algal biomass with a high content of starch. Such cultivation requires modification of production conditions in order to enhance a biosynthesis of reserve compounds (starch eventually lipids) of the micro-algae. The starch-enriched biomass will be subsequently treated in order to obtain fermentable sugars for bio-ethanol production. Also the lipid fraction will be separated and utilised for bio-diesel production. This downstream process includes optimisation of cell disintegration, starch and cellulose hydrolysis, ethanol fermentation, lipid extraction and esterification, etc. Not least, the advantageous utilisation of protein-rich biomass residues will be investigated. The proposed project will be carried out on the Czech side in cooperation with the following partners: * Termizo a.s., Liberec * Institute of Microbiology, Czech Acad.Sci., Trebon * Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague * Fuel Research Institute, Prague. The foreign project partners will be: * Division of Algal Biotechnology, Institute for Cereal Processing, Ltd., Nuthetal, GERMANY * Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, Braga, PORTUGAL * Department of Environmental Process Engineering, International Graduate School, Zittau, GERMANY. Keywords: algae, biofuels, waste incineration.
Project ID: 
4 493
Start date: 
01-01-2009
Project Duration: 
45months
Project costs: 
1 360 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Renewable Sources of Energy
Market Area: 
ENERGY

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