IDEA envisions the development and enrolment of economic viable value chains based on micro-algae in NWEurope. More particularly, partners from Belgium, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Ireland and UK are involved which are countries exposed to a similar climate that is significantly different from the south-European and North-European climate.
The growing world population is in need for new sustainable resources for healthy food/feed & chemicals. Algae produce a variety of compounds via conversion of CO2, nutrients and light, and offer potential as renewable feedstock. Although light intensities and temperatures are lower compared to south-Europe, there is a potential for algae growth. For some species, the NWEuropean climate may even have advantages, and can be economic viable when targeting higher value products (not bioenergy).
Today algae based value chains are not established despite free greenhouse capacities suitable for algae growth. IDEA aims to innovate and push the process development from individual solutions to a viable process chain targeting final compounds for food, feed, cosmetic and agro applications. This will involve at longer term >60 SMEs in the region.
A multidisciplinary team is composed with partners (academics, SMEs, sectoral groups, authorities…) active along the value chain which covers algae growth, harvesting, medium re-use, processing of the algae biomass (including biorefinery) and new marketable final product formulations.
IDEA addresses innovations related to: (1) algae species for NWEurope climate and cultivation efficiency for prolonged growth seasons in NWE (up to 360 days), (2) development of an automated water recirculation, harvest unit & alternative CO2 resources, (3) storage concept, logistics and preservation of algae biomass, (4) regional activities for algae processing, potentially comparable to the milk industry, (5) >15 novel products formulations to targeting value generation. In the IDEA capitalization part, the potential of side-streams is being evaluated for providing nutrients (N/P), CO2, salts, and/or water) in algae growth. IDEA starts where earlier projects ended.