Towards industrial products from microalgae

Jesus Ruiz Gonzalez, Guiseppe Olivieri, J.H. de Vree, R. Bosma, Philippe Willems, J.H. Reith, M.H.M. Eppink, D.M.M. Kleinegris, R.H. Wijffels*, M.J. Barbosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

485 Citations (Scopus)


Our society needs new sustainable biobased feedstocks to meet population growth and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for sustainable production of food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels. Our mission is to develop a commercial and sustainable production chain for commodity products from microalgae. Estimations of biomass production costs for a 100 ha plant facility have been done. Projections of different scenarios allowed us to compare effect of variables, such as location of the facility, type of cultivation system and operational parameters. As result, this tool shows the most suitable location and system for algae production, as well as the main cost factors. The biomass produced follows to the biorefinery process to be fractionated into the main components: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and pigments. Several chains have been specifically designed for different market scenarios. The overall turnover coming from the exploitation of the different biomass fractions depends on the end product. A market analysis has been conducted looking to different scenarios according to the biomass value pyramid: biofuels, chemicals, food, feed, specialties in food, cosmetics and a combination of these. Projections show that production of high-value products from microalgae could be profitable nowadays and commodities will become profitable within 10 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3036-3043
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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