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Spain’s AIMPLAS partners to produce plastics from algae

December 16, 2013

AIMPLAS - Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico

AIMPLAS – Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico

AIMPLAS, a Center for Innovation and Technology in Valencia, Spain, and Biofuel Systems, a wholly Spanish-owned firm that has developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, are heading up a project dedicated to the production of plastics made from algae.

Together with 13 other partners, the Technological Institute of Plastics (AIMPLAS) heads BISIGODOS, a European project that was launched on November 1, 2013 that will run for 42 months. The project is financed by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (7FP). Its purpose is to select and cultivate new varieties of microalgae that allow the optimization of the extraction of high value products for the industry.

The basis of this collaboration is a technology developed by Bio Fuel Systems (BFS) in Alicante, Spain, with the objective to obtain artificial fuel from microalgae. The scope of the project and its ambitious objectives require the participation of partners from different fields. In a first phase, the project activity includes the selection and cultivation of the best varieties of microalgae grown in photobioreactors from the laboratory, which will be optimized to achieve the highest possible volume of the algae product.

A first valuation of the original biomass follows the extraction of its lipid fraction, with polyurethanes obtained to be used as components for adhesive products. Simultaneously, the extraction of proteins creates amino acids and lactic acid for the food industry. The biomass undergoes a thermochemical process, first for its total exploitation, and second to obtain surfactants and other chemical substances for the production of paints and inks.

AIMPLAS´ function in the project is to validate the usefulness of each of the extracted ingredients in every phase for the integration in the industrial production process of the planned products.

Together with AIMPLAS and Bio Fuel Systems, the other institutions participating in the project include University of Warwik, VTT, Becker Industrial Coatings, Sun Chemical, Process Design Center B.V., Bangor University, Croda International, 3V Mabo, Phycosource, Gruene- Bioraffinerie, Caspeo and Cromogenia.

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