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Start date: Dec 1, 2013, End date: Nov 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The D-Factory aims to set a world benchmark for a sustainable biorefinery based on biomass from halophilic microalgae. Representing the largest (100s ha) of current commercial cultivation technologies for any microalga, Dunaliella microalgal biomass production uses raceways and lakes, and will be expanded with biorefinery concepts by drawing in European innovations in key biomass processing technologies: supercritical CO2; high performance counter-current chromatography; and the use of membranes, to produce carotenes and other bioactive compounds, emulsifiers and polymers. Combining this force with world-renowned expertise in the biochemistry of Dunaliella (Ben-Amotz) we will tailor the productivities of strains sourced by the Marine Biological Association for biorefinery requirements and add to the mix, experience in constructing and using the two most advanced systems for cultivating microalgae: a series of photobioreactors developed by A4F Portugal - currently scaled-up to the largest size in the world, 1.100 m3, and open raceways by NBT Israel - 10 ha in operation for + 30 years. Novel harvesting technology will be developed based on spiral plate technology and ultramembrane filtration. Within 36 months we will be ready to showcase a sustainable D-Factory demonstration in Europe. Designs, flowsheets and integrated schemes along with sustainability assessments (technological, environmental, economic and social) will produce benchmarks for a wide range of products and paths. These will be used in the D-Factory business case developed by Hafren Investments to raise investment for the first prototype D-Factory in Europe. The D-Factory demonstration is scheduled to be operational in 48 months. It will reach stakeholders across the globe via an Innovation Platform and will serve as a robust manifestation for the business case for global investment in algae biorefineries and in large-scale production of microalgae using photobioreactors, algal raceways and lakes.
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