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Multifunctional Cellulose Magnetic Hybrid (CMH) Nanomaterial for Integrating Downstream Processing of Microalgae

Objective

Microalgae are a promising new biomass source for the production of chemicals and biofuel. Notwithstanding extensive R&D efforts, the cost and energy demand the production process remain too high, particularly in downstream processing. We believe the efficiency of microalgae downstream processing can be greatly improved through the use of nanotechnology. Hybrid and/or multifunctional nanoparticles can be tailored with multiple functional groups to combine several unit operations in a single technology. In this project, we combine expertise on Fe3O4 nanomaterials and cell disruption technologies from the experienced researcher with expertise of the two co-supervisors in nanocellulose materials and microalgae harvesting to create a bio-based and re-usable Cellulose Magnetic Hybrid (CMH) nanomaterial for downstream processing of microalgae. As a basis we will use nanocellulose, a natural material that can easily be grafted with multiple functional groups. The nanocellulose will be equipped with quaternary ammonium groups to generate flocculating and cell disruption activity, as well as pH-responsive to allow detachment of the nanomaterial after processing. The nanocellulose will be linked to an Fe3O4 nanoparticles, which will allow separating the microalgal biomass from the medium as well as recovery of the nanomaterial after downstream processing. Thus, our CMH nanomaterial will be capable of combined flocculation, dewatering and cell disruption of microalgae and can be removed from the biomass and re-used after processing. The techno-economic feasibility of this novel technology will be demonstrated in two model systems: lipid production in Nannochloropsis and astaxanthin production in Haematococcus. We believe that this CMH nanomaterial will be able to achieve a critical cost reduction in microalgal downstream processing and truly advance large-scale microalgae biomass production towards commercialization

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 160 800