A new international project is kicking off to produce biofuels from algae. The BIOfuel From Algae Technologies (BIOFAT) project is supported by nine partners based in seven countries and the goal is to show that ethanol, biodiesel and bioproducts call all be produced at large scale from algae. Algae supporters believe algal biofuels can be produced in an efficient, economic and environmentally sustainable way and the BIOFAT team intends to prove this with the algorefinery – a facility that can produce high-value co-products in addition to biofuels.
Abengoa Bioenergy’s subsidiary Abengoa Bioenergia Nuevas Tecnologias (ABNT) will be the coordinator for the project. According to BIOFAT, the project will be carried out by a transnational consortium drawn from the academic, industrial and public sectors that includes the University of Florence (IT), A4F-AlgaFuel (PT), Ben-Gurion University (IL), Fotosintetica & Microbiologica (IT), Evodos (NL), AlgoSource Technologies (FR), IN SRL (IT) and Hart Energy (BE). Consortium members were selected to provide research diversity and expertise to the project.
In addition to creating algal biofuels, the BIOFAT project will also demonstrate the integration of the entire value chain in the production of ethanol and biodiesel. The research process will begin with strain selection and proceed to biological optimization of the culture media, monitored algae cultivation, low energy harvesting, and finally technology integration. Training will take place on existing microalgae prototypes in Israel, Portugal and Italy, then scale up the process at a 10-hectare demonstration plant. The project is expected to last four years and produce about 900 tons of algae annually on the 10-hectare plant.