The main goal of the ABACUS project is to develop a new algal biorefinery concept, based on the production of added value compounds from microalgae, with a focus on terpenes for fragrances and long-chain terpenoids (carotenoids) for nutraceuticals and cosmetic activities, and to perform life cycle and techno-economic analysis of the process. Prerequisite are the selection of unique algae strains oriented to the production of terpenes, the optimization of cultivation systems, the development of specific in-line sensors for the terpenes monitoring and the investigation of innovative fractionation technic to provide a green low-cost downstream process.
The project will be carried out by a European consortium constituted by two large industries, three small enterprises and four research institutes that cover a large range of competencies in algae, biomass processes, biomass extraction, life cycle assessment (LCA), techno-economic assessment (TEA), and market survey. The project is divided into 9 work packages (see figure).
ITAS is in charge of analyzing the value chain of the total life cycle of the algae bio-based products (Work Package 7). The production costs of algal products are often much higher than those of conventional chemical or natural products and, therefore, a technological development is necessary to make them competitive in the selected market. One focus of ITAS will be to determine the most cost-effective options developed in the project by the members of the consortium and provide a detailed analysis of how the costs of algae could be decreased. The other focus of ITAS will be to investigate the perception of algal products by consumers. A systematic literature review and a customer survey on the perception of algal goods will be conducted.