This project aims to promote the sustainable production of biofuels and biomaterials associated with carbon dioxide fixation.
Biomass will be produced and/or processed using microalgae and bacteria searching for processes with less environmental impact, particularly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and non-renewable resources of materials and energy.
Thus, the main goal of this research project is to propose alternatives for carbon dioxide mitigation linked to the production of third-generation biofuel (bioethanol) and biopolymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).
Microalgae are currently being promoted as an ideal third generation biofuel feedstock, once they present fast growth rate, greenhouse gas fixation ability and high potential to produce lipids and carbohydrates. Furthermore, microalgae cultivation does not compete with food or feed crops, and can be grown on saline water.
The third-generation ethanol production aims to use environmentally friendly fermentative carbon sources with no competition with crops used for food to either humans or feedstock. In this sense, bioethanol will be produced by fermenting carbohydrate-rich microalgal biomass, which will be optimized through different stress conditions.
More specifically, the priority of this part of the project is to: a) increase carbohydrate content without compromising microalgal biomass yield through optimization of stressful growth conditions, b) enhance the biomass production for further hydrolysis and fermentation experiments and c) ferment biomass for bioethanol production.