Helping the bioplastic industry navigate the use of microalgae
Project duration: October 2022 – October 2025
Dr Sofia Chaudry
Microalgae are used to produce many useful products such as fuel, feed, food, health supplements, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and bioplastics.
However, not many of these products are available to consumers just yet. This is largely due to the high cost of algal processes that are involved in production.
To produce commercially viable products, scientists need access to the most efficient processes, products and algal species. Most economic feasibility studies of algal processes are focused on the production of the specific products (mainly biofuel) for specific algal species and processes. This limits the focus of the research and development for the algal production systems.
Currently, there is no tool available which can be used to select the most suitable process and evaluate its economic feasibility to produce the products (other than biofuel) such as bioplastics.
The goal of this project is to develop rigorous process models and a technoeconomic framework that can be used to identify sustainable process/es, products and algal species, and the bottlenecks of microalgae-based processes. This framework will explore how microalgae can best be deployed at large scale and support the decision-making for future research and development in the algae-based innovation.
The technoeconomic framework tool developed through this project will be applicable across a range of algal projects inside and outside of CSIRO. This framework will ideally allow researchers to focus on the key challenges identified by the technoeconomic assessment and accelerate the innovation of algae-based technologies.