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Developing a Lab-scale method for measuring biogas potential from microalgae

University of Cambridge and Anaero Technology were awarded a 2014 ABSIG SPARK Award to explore whether anaerobic digestion of algae biomass is a possible route of utilisation of algae biomass.


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.  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. 

Bioenergy from algae, in particular from anaerobic digeston (AD), is seen as a potential feedstock to support our sustainable energy mix. 

Anaero have devised a scale-down version of an anaerobic digester, capable of running 15 experiments in parallel. This enables valuable data on potential biogas yields to be generated, and for the effect of combinations of feedstocks to be explored more rapidly.  The Biomethane Potential equipment developed by Anaero was used to evaluate three types of algae and maize, the most widespread energy crop in AD.

The tests confirm that the anaerobic digestion of algae biomass is a possible route of utilisation of algae biomass.

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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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