UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE.
Direct Air Capture for Microalgae Cultivation in NW Europe
Michel Schellevis, Wim Brilman*
University of Twente, Sustainable Process Technology group, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands.
IDEA envisions the development and enrolment of economic viable value chains based on micro-algae in NWEurope.
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 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 and cosmetic 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, processing of the algae biomass (including biorefinery) and new marketable final product formulations.
The role of the University of Twente (SPT group) in this project is the development of a technology for CO2 capture from ambient air to feed the microalgae. The technology must result in a small robust unit that can demonstrate the technology at partners’ premises during actual microalgae cultivation. The direct air capture technology is based on a supported amine solid sorbent, able to selectively collect the CO2 out of thin air.
More info?: https://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/idea-implementation-and-development-of-economic-viable-algae-based-value-chains/
The mobile unit developed, designed and constructed at the University of Twente is now (2021) being tested in test campaign at partners’ premises at the Sunbuilt facility (VITO/Tomas Moore (Belgium)) and in Germany at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ, Germany). Capacity of the unit: ± 1.25 kg CO2 per day