Developing economically feasible and sustainable processes for large-scale production of edible algae oils.
This will be achieved by:
- developing new basic culturing technologies to reduce algae oil production costs
- selecting algae species based on high oil productivity and optimal oil composition for food applications
Future increase in demand for edible oils
With a fast growing world population there will be increasing demand for edible oils. Traditional farming practices will not be able to cover future oil demand in a sustainable way since suitable agricultural soils are becoming increasingly scarce. Anticipating on increased demands for edible oils, food industry is exploring additional and sustainable sources of oils for their products.
Sustainable edible oil production from microalgae
Microalgae are excellent and sustainable candidates to increase edible oil production. Numerous species offer many possibilities to produce a wide variety of products, from oils with diverse compositions to proteins and carbohydrates. Microalgae require relatively little water. They can be cultured in areas unsuitable for agriculture and with low ecological value. Consequently, microalgae don't compete for farm land or wild forests. In addition to sustainable production methods, microalgae have high growth rates and produce proteins and carbohydrates in addition to a variety of oils.
Research on maximizing algae oil production
Lab-based research will be an important component, with additional scaled-up experiments in AlgaePARC. Research activities will focus on edible oil accumulating microalgae. Culturing methods will be optimized to maximize algae oil production. In addition, metabolic routes linked to algae oil production, and genes involved will be characterized and modeled. Results will supply tools for strain improvement.