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VFA Biorefinery

Tuned volatile fatty acids production from organic waste for biorefinery platforms (VFA biorefinery)

Published: 4 February 2020

FORMAS (Future Research Leaders)
2019-2021

An attractive solution for a sustainable society with a competitive bio-economy is to develop new biological processes for the production of high value products from renewable resources. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a well-known technology; however, a majority of the operating plants cannot reach profitability. A fundamental system change is therefore needed to create an economically more efficient utilization of organic wastes. Many types of biochemical pathways are involved in AD which gives us the possibility to convert complex organic feedstocks, like brewers spent grain and cheese whey, to volatile fatty acids (VFAs). Within the project, we will optimize the VFA production, with simultaneous hydrogen generation, and at the same time we will develop an externally submerged membrane coupled to a digester will therefore be developed. Furthermore, we propose to combine the inherent organic waste utilization capabilities of the AD microbial community with the use of the VFAs as carbon source for the production of microbial lipids by yeast and green algae; which otherwise are not able to utilize complex waste streams. The produced lipids can be used for the production of energy (biodiesel) or for high value nutraceutical compounds (omega-3 fatty acids). The residual streams from the microbial cultivations will be collected for biogas production to achieve a zero waste scenario.

Leonidas Matsakas

Leonidas Matsakas, Associate Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 493043
Organisation: Biochemical Process Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering