Project title: New bioprocess for microbial oil from crude glycerol and cellulosic sugars
Project duration: 2013-2015
Budget: € 150.000
Financial support: Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology, European Union


Short project description

Crude glycerol (a side-product of biodiesel production) and cellulosic sugars (CLS) are renewable resources generated in continuously increasing quantities worldwide. Previous efforts in producing chemicals and fuels normally use either glycerol or CLS as substrate. However, biologically the use of blends of glycerol and CLS could achieve results which are either impossible with a single substrate or much superior compared to existing processes. This will be demonstrated in this project for the production of microbial oil (called single-cell oil, SCO) in a novel bioprocess. SCO can be used for the production of high-quality biodiesel and other value-added nutritional or pharmaceutical products like polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Here, we focus on the production of SCO and its further conversion to biodiesel with work ranging from fundamental understanding and optimization of SCO synthesis in selected microorganisms in laboratory to scale-up and demonstration in pilot plant up to 1000 L scale with an interdisciplinary approach. The knowledge and technology generated in this project can be extended to the generation of PUFAs and other products from blends of glycerol and CLS. Thus, this collaborative project will advance the technology for producing valuable nutritional substances and fuels from renewable materials in the frame of Bio-economy and Energy, two of the Priority Research Areas of this Call. It also directly contributes to improve the competitiveness of the collaboration partners by combing the strength and expertise of the partners, to strengthen the links between research and industry through the participation of an industrial partner, last but not least to prepare the partners for the EU Framework Program Horizon 2020.