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Diseño in-silico y optimización de microalgas basadas en biorrefinerías mediante modelos matemáticos


Oferta Tecnológica
Un centro de investigación italiano ha desarrollado modelos matemáticos para ingeniería de proceso y herramientas de software aplicables en experimentos de crecimiento o recogida de microalgas, deshidratación, ruptura celular y extracción y purificación de metabolitos. Estas herramientas deben validarse mediante la comparación con datos experimentales producidos en un laboratorio, así como en plantas industriales o piloto. Se buscan centros de investigación con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación técnica y continuar con el desarrollo.


In-silico design and optimization of microalgae based biorefineries through mathematical models
An Italian research centre has developed mathematical models for process engineering, and software tools applicable to microalgae growth experiments or harvesting, dewatering, cell disruption, metabolite extraction and purification, that should be validated by comparison with experimental data produced in a laboratory, as well as in industrial or pilot plants scale.
The group is looking for research centres interested in technological cooperations for further development.
Microalgae represent today one of the most promising renewable feedstocks for the production of a wide range of consumer goods such as biofuels, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, bioplastics, functional food, lubricants and food for aquaculture systems. However, the exploitation of microalgae is still not widespread since it is based on technologies affected by economic and technical constraints that, in turn, have limited the development of industrial scale production systems. Therefore, in view of industrial scaling-up, the current technology should be optimized in terms of selected algal strains as well as design/operating parameters.
While the creation of new microalgal strains intrinsically characterized by high productivities of specific metabolites (lipids, proteins etc.), is an ambitious goal which can be achieved through genetic manipulation of existing strains, the optimization of design and operating parameters related to the different processing steps may be accomplished by exploiting suitable process engineering techniques which in turn rely on mathematical models. Along these lines an Italian research institute has developed suitable mathematical models which permit to identify operating conditions and reactors configurations which, in turn, are able to boost the algal metabolism in a specific desired direction. Moreover the research group, is currently involved in an intense research activity aimed to identify the microalgae genes involved in the bio-synthesis of specific metabolites and carbon dioxide uptake mechanisms of several strains belonging to the phylum of green algae.
The final goal is to develop suitable genetic engineering tools to manipulate the genome of existing strains with the aim of boosting the metabolic pathways leading to the production of the desired metabolites so to increase their productivity coupled with a high capability of carbonic anhydride (CO2) uptake. The achievement of this goal would permit to scale up the microalgae-technology while making it economically competitive.
Thanks to skills acquired, the research group aims at developing genetic engineering tools to produce engineered microalgae strains characterized by high productivity of desired metabolites, such as lipids, omega 3, omega 6, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, bioplastics, pigments, etc.
Advantages and Innovations:
Potential advantages deriving from a successful collaboration are:
- production of novel engineered strains capable to produce useful, and high added value metabolites such as lipids, unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3, 6, etc.);
- development of sustainable scale up of microalgae based refineries;
- saving time and money in the design and optimization of the downstream processing;
- risk limitations thanks to performance predictions and improvement of the knowledge on the industrial process;
- capitalization of the knowledge on the process;
- abatement of the experimental tests to be performed thanks to mathematical modeling and process simulation.
A potential application characterized by a high innovation level concerns the production of engineered microalgal strains capable to survive under very extreme environmental conditions such as those ones occurring in extraterrestrial planets. This very innovative activity might make the microalgal technology useful to produce food and photosynthetic oxygen to sustain manned missions on Mars in the framework of the so called In Situ resource utilization technologies.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
Exclusive rights

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The client is looking for research institute dealing with cultivation and processing of microalgae; photobioreactors realization; refineries design, installation and operation; CO2 algae biorefinery, biofuels production, biomass processing, food processing, high added value pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, green chemistry, that is willing to run experimental trials in the lab, and/or build, develop and apply the tool in pilot and industrial scale biorefineries.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
04005003 Biocombustibles líquidos
04005011 Biorefinerías para energía
04003001 Combustibles fósiles gaseosos
04003003 Combustibles fósiles líquidos
01003016 Simulaciones