The ability to recover lipids and proteins from microorganisms (e.g. microalgae) is of increasing commercial interest due to the ability to produce these commodities without the need for arable land and fresh water. Commercial processes (wet and dry oil extraction and hydrothermal processing) for producing products from biomass are energy intensive, utilise toxic solvents and are costly. This limits exploitation to mainly nutraceuticals. To expand the value of algae to new markets, new cost-effective processes are required. The technology details a simple, energy efficient and cost-effective process which rapidly destabilises complex stable emulsions that result during algal biomass processing. This enables simple isolation of oils and proteins, which reduces costs, energy consumption and chemical contamination, while avoiding damage to high value proteins and lipids. Proof-of-concept studies validate the process. Key advantages of the process include, avoidance of toxic organic solvents for extraction, reduction in energy consumption due to the avoidance of thermal drying and solvent evaporation, and a demulsifier-free process which avoids high temperatures and added chemicals which can degrade proteins and lipids. Due to the simple, cost-effective, and scalable nature of the process, it is envisaged this technology can open new markets for algae, including biofuels and food.
Primary Application Area: Manufacturing, Instrumentation
Technology Development Status: Prototype
Technology Readiness Level: TRL 3
Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab
Showcase Booth #: 219
GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES