Research project at Celignis


"ALGAL biorefinery of biogas digestate to high VAlue fuNctional IngredientS through circular approachEs"

ProgrammeHorizon Europe, H2020-EU.1.3.2
CategoryMarie Curie IF
Period2020 - 2022
The ALGALVANISE project was designed to add an additional revenue stream to the biogas plants by producing high value products and reducing the disposal problems with the digestate. Digestate is rich in phosphates and nitrogen and also contains substantial amounts of organic content that is not converted to biomethane. The richness of digestate in nutrients and organic matter makes it a suitable feed for biotransformation (fungal, algal, or bacterial) to high value products.

Algal cultivation is favoured over fungal and bacterial systems for wastewater or digestate treatment due to the ability of algae to assimilate nutrients and produce high-value products including proteins, lipids and natural pigments. Microalgae and cyanobacteria can also accumulate phosphorous as polyphosphates to use it under phosphorous-limited conditions. This luxury uptake mechanism can allow them to sequester more nutrients, a clear advantage for digestate nutrient recovery systems.

analysis in ALGALVANISE

algae evaluation

In the integration of algal cultivation at an AD facility, a natural consortium of bacteria and algae can be established based on the composition of the digestate and environmental/process conditions. The ALGALVANISE project has advanced the state-of-the art by developing a series of innovative solutions for separate applications in the biogas and algae industries as well as the best integrated solution for a biogas-algae biorefinery. This concept hybrid system has the following features and benefits:
1. The algae-bacteria consortium has established into robust system that produces a variety of high-value products such as pigments, proteins and lipids from digestate.
2. Mixed algae-bacteria consortium that does not require an expensive sterilization process to grow the algae.
3. The effluent from biogas-algae biorefinery is clean and low in nutrients.
4. Optimised process conditions for the production of pigments, proteins and lipids by algae and chitosan dosage for flocculation of bacteria-algae mixed culture.
5. Production of a mix of pigments with high bioactive potential.

Other Celignis Research Projects Funded by the Horizon Programme

Current Projects

Enxylascope aims at bioprospecting and producing a novel set of xylan debranching enzymes, thereby demonstrating its ability to make xylan a key ingredient in a variety of consumer products. Celignis is playing a key role, being the technical lead and responsible for the extraction and modification of xylan from biomass. Further info...PERFECOAT, a RIA project funded by the BBI JU, targets the development of novel sustainable coatings that will ultimately be available to the public. Celignis is responsible for the extraction and modification of polymers (xylan and chitosan) that will be used as binders in these coatings. Further info...The UNRAVEL project (UNique Refinery Approach to Valorise European Lignocellulosics) is focused on the optimsiation of a biomass pre-treatment technology. Celignis plays a key role by analysing and evaluating the extractives present in a wide variety of feedstocks and determining how they influence pre-treatment. Further info...VAMOS concerns the construction and operation of a demonstration-scale biorefinery producing lactic acid from the paper fraction of municipal waste. In the project Celignis will develop custom NIR models for the rapid at-line on-site analysis of the feedstock and process outputs. Further info...This demo project involves innovative superheated steam processing of unwanted bush and invasive biomass into high-value, clean-burning, low-cost solid biofuel. Celignis will analyse feedstocks, and process outputs, and use our QTOF-LC/MS system to profile the steam condensate for high value chemicals. We will then develop a method to recover target constituents. Further info...BIO4AFRICA will empower smallholder farmers by creating value from locally available biomass. Celignis is analysing a wide range of biomass feedstocks, from a number of African countries, and providing recommendations regarding the most suitable ones, under the best conditions, for the given processing technology. We also analyse the outputs of the various processes. Further info...

Completed Projects

DIBANET was an FP7 research project, written and coordinated by Celignis founder Dan Hayes, that concerned the production of second generation biofuels from biomass feedstocks in Europe and Latin America. The advances in the state of the art of biomass analysis made in DIBANET led to the formation of Celignis. Further info...The BIOrescue project was focused on developing technologies to convert spent mushroom compost, a problematic waste of the mushroom industry, to high value products. Within the project Celignis undertook a compositional profiling study of the feedstocks and developed rapid analysis models for these and process outputs. Further info...The focus of ENABLING was on supporting the spreading of best practices and innovation in the provision of biomass for the Bio-Based Industry (BBI). Celignis played a key role in the project with regards to stressing the importance of biomass composition in terms of evaluating feedstock and technology suitability. Further info...Celignis was the sole partner in SAPHIRE. The project, funded by the European Union's INNOSUP programme, concerned the production of high-value hydrogels from lignocellulosic residues. These are expected to have applications in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors. Further info...

Other Celignis Research Projects

Current Projects

Celignis is the sole partner in STEAME, a project funded by the Irish Research Council and focused on the development of technologies to make anaerobic digestion more financially viable in Ireland. Further info...