IDEA- Implementation & Development of Economic, viable Algae based value chains
About the project
IDEA (Implementation and development of economic viable algae based value chains) envisions the development and enrolment of economic viable value chains based on micro-algae in North Western Europe. Partners from Ireland (Teagasc – contact person Dr Maria Hayes), Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and Italy are involved which are countries exposed to a similar climate that is significantly different from the South of Europe.
The growing world population is in need of 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 less than those found in the south of Europe, there is potential for algae growth. For some species, the North Western European climate may even have advantages, and can be economically 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 bio-refinery) and new marketable final product formulations.
IDEA addresses innovations related to: (1) algae species for the 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. IDEA starts where earlier projects ended.
EU financial assistance
This research was funded by NORTH-WEST EUROPE INTERREG, grant number NWE 639 as part of the IDEA project (Implementation and development of economic viable algae-based value chains in North-West Europe).
TRsesearch, August 2018: https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2018/01-Good-IDEA-the-algal-value-chain.pdf