The DEMA Consortium will develop, demonstrate and license a complete economically competitive technology for the direct production of bioethanol from microalgae with low-cost scalable photobioreactors by 2016. Initial proof-of-concept results show via life cycle assessment and economic balance that it is feasible to use microalgae to produce bioethanol. The catalytic conversion of solarenergy, H2O and CO2 into ethanol will be carried out by a metabolically engineered strain of the cyanobacterium, Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.
In the second level the bioethanol is continuously extracted from the culture media via a membrane technology process exploiting existing EU expertise and technology. This elegant process design enables the economic and energy efficient production of biofuel at a dramatically reduced capital and operational expenditure.
The DEMA bioethanol process will be economically, socially, and environmentally positive, providing a complement and future replacement to terrestrial biomass-derived ethanol and act as an immediately actionable means of reducing the carbon footprint of EU transport needs.
The DEMA consortium will achieve a transformational innovation in biofuel production via low risk improvement of existing technologies at proof of concept stage.