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Algal Biorefinery: routes for energy and nutrient recovery

A 2015 SPARK Plus Award enabled Anaero Technology to work with the University of Cambridge on "Algal Biorefinery: routes for energy and nutrient recovery."

Research into using microalgae for the bioremediation of waste streams, for example those from tertiary waste water treatment, has been gaining momentum in the UK. However, if biomass is not suitable for the food chain, generating bioenergy via codigestion with other feedstocks is a possible route.

The University of Cambridge partners are currently involved in ecosystem service research that involves using by-products from drinking water purification to grow algae, and this project seeks to "close the loop" on nutrient retrieval. 

This project built on a 2014 ABSIG Award that provided evidence that methane can be produced from digested algae that were grown on waste water from one source.

The tests confirm that the anaerobic digestion of algae biomass is a possible route of utilisation of algae biomass. Anaero have devised a scale-down version of an anaerobic digester, capable of running 15 experiments in parallel, and have been repeating the earlier studies, using more species and pasteurisation processes and using algae grown on wastewater from more than one source to look for variation in the process.

In the context of this project, microalgae is playing a provisioning role, generating bioenergy, and converting nutrients into a useable form, which will play a vital role in contributing to the bioeconomy market in the UK.

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Webinar on funding opportunities for Industrial Biotech & SynBio

This KTN webinar provided an update on the upcoming funding opportunities for industrial biotechnology & synthetic biology, with particular focus on the remit of each competition and where applications are likely to fit best. 

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