CIMA researchers are developing a technology that allows using micro seaweeds to produce biofuels.

A research team from CIMA lead by Sara Raposo is making a new strategy to promote the technological development of micro seaweeds biotechnology on the energy, health, cosmetic and aquaculture sectors within the international network “Algared+”.

According to Sara Raposo «CIMA’s Enviromnent Biotechnology and Engineering Lab is going to dedicate to the exploration of renewable energy, bioethanol, biodiesel and the production of biomethane, besides other products that may be interesting in a biorefinery».

At the same time, another CIMA groups are devoting themselves to «other exploration areas that can be used in the health, cosmetic and aquaculture areas».

According to Algarve University (UAlg), CIMA researchers are searching to «optimize the micro seaweeds growth conditions to the bioenergy production, by using biomass different fractions».

UAlg explained that «The starch, backup sugar, cellulose and hemicellulose, present in the micro seaweed walls are going to be hydrolyzed in simpler sugars that will be used as a carbon source to the bioethanol production. Oils will be characterized and used according to their composition. They will be used to the production of high value products or biodiesel. Remaining biomass may be used to the biogas production through anaerobic digestion.».

Even thought that the project main objective is biofuels production, they are also trying to put this activity on the same page as the «interest product gathering such as carotenoids, pigments that are found in nature with interest on the health and food industry».

In Sara Raposo point of view this is a research area «of big interest on national and international levels that are in broad expansion, wether in development or in the search of new alternatives in renewable energy level».

The project coordinator added that «The objective is to contribute to the sustainable development through the biological resources exploration in a sustainable and environment-friendly way on an integrated biorefinery concept at the same time as energy production. With this, we will have other ways to produce high value products. This means that we are going to use technology of clean process and at the same time integrated».

According to UAlg, the “Algared+” «is an excellent network within the Operational Program EP-INTERREG VA Spain-Portugal (POCTEP), formed by universities, research centers, public and private companies of the aquiculture, biomedicine and production of micro seaweeds».

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