Laboratory of Environmental Bioengineering
The Porter School of Environmental Studies

Marine Biorefineries Initiative

The transition from fossil-based industries towards low carbon, resource efficient and sustainable ones and sustainable food supply is a major challenge for the next decades. To address these challenges multiple biomass/biotechnologies programs have been launched. Currently, these large programs focus mainly on land crops and on microalgae. However, recent studies indicate that in the future, biomass production, including novel sources such as specialized bioenergy crops and lignocellulose, is under high degree of uncertainty. Land erosion, potable water consumption, deleterious effects on environment due to intensified use of fertilizers and pesticides are amongst the major reasons of concern. Negative net energy balance, bottlenecks in large scale cultivation and separation of algae from water currently prevent the implementation of microalgae biomass for the food and biofuels. Recently, encouraging results show that marine macroalgae can provide an energy profitable alternative of biomass for sustainable food and biofuels generation.

Our goal is to develop simple, low cost technologie for rapid penetration of biorefineries in low- income countries, where the largest demand is expected. We focus on the main challenges in production and utilization of macroalgal biomass such as algae metabolism, ecology and environmental interactions; energy efficient processing and fermentation technologies for conversion of macroalgal biomass into foods, chemicals and biofuels.

The contemplated MMBR.

On May 24, 2017 we organized for first workshop for Offhore Marine Biorefineries