The InteSusAl Consortium will demonstrate an integrated approach to generate biofuels from algae in a sustainable manner on an industrial scale. In order to achieve its overall objective, the project was divided into the following complementary tasks:
Microalgae Yield Optimisation
InteSusAl will identify and select optimum cultures, glycerol streams, growth conditions and harvesting methods to maximise algal biomass productivity from the demonstration facility. The research microbiological issues related to the optimisation of algae growth, harvesting and oil yields from microalgae will involve the selection of optimum microalgae cultures and growing conditions that can be most cost effectively harvested (for example through self-flocculation) for maximum oil yields.
Prototype Development Activities
The Consortium will create an integrated prototype design comprising fermenters, raceway and photo bio-reactor technologies, together with downstream processing facilities, to achieve high productivities of dry algae biomass per annum. More precisely, the project will determine the design of algae heterotrophic propagation units (using a Low Cost Fermenter, LCF) and the design and establishment of phototrophic propagation units (using both photobioreactor, PBR, and Raceway, RW) as well as the method for their integration with downstream processing (DSP) to allow the robust growth of biomass necessary for the other partners activities.
Demonstration Pilot - Build and Commission
InteSusAl will then build and commission an integrated pilot production unit, comprising fermenters, raceways and bio-reactor technologies, designed to achieve high productivities of dry algae biomass per hectare per annum, plus downstream processing facilities. This will initially be done by the construction of a single pilot line, followed by optimising of the build process by replication of the unit.
This task will synthesize the outcome of the prototype units to design, build and operate a pilot facility for the integrated production for both the propagation (LCF, PBR and RW units) and harvesting of microalgae on a 1 hectare site.
A 1-hectare (90-120 tes per hectare per year) dry biomass production system will be designed, using the operational cost model based on the findings of the previous work packages. Also, InteSusAl patners will prepare a commercial business case for submission to the European Investment Bank, for support under the RSFF scheme.
This work will bring together the designs, operational learning and optimised integrated performance of the previous activities into a full business case for further capital investment by an extended consortium.
It’s expected the construction and operation of a demonstration microalgae production unit to make 90-120 dry tes of biomass per hectare per year.
This facility will host the demonstration of biofuels supply chain through conversion to biodiesel and supply of algae biomass into the aviation biofuels supply chain. Such biomass will demonstrate the ability to deliver biodiesel from the oil content of the microalgae produced.
During all project activities, InteSusAl will use accepted Life cycle analysis (LCA) methodology and tools to establish the economic feasibility and environmental sustainability of the algae to biofuels demonstrator. The goal is to ensure that this project, and its subsequent wider exploitation, will create no land-for-food versus land-for-fuel issues as well as to provide relevant sustainability information to inform project direction and decision making and to allow comparison with other algae production sites.
InteSusAl partners will engage with this sustainability assessment through the technical delivery work packages of the project, already mentioned.
Dissemination and Explotation
The Consortium will ensure wider project dissemination to enable partners to maximise the commercialisation of results post-project, including two international one day industry seminars, two scientific or technical papers and five publications or conference proceedings.