Algae are among the most promising feedstocks with a thriving demand, aiming to make a real, tangible and positive difference for a greener, sustainable and healthier Europe. Currently, Portugal is one of the leading European actors in the algae production sector. This position has been strengthened by the excellent location of the country with an extensive sea coastline and solar radiation of excellence for the production of algae. Nevertheless, the commercial production of algal biomass still displays relatively high costs, requiring a significant R&D effort to develop sustainable production processes to substantially reduce the costs of the production inputs. Additionally, the development of innovative biorefinery pipelines to process algal biomass into high-value ingredients and the establishment of innovative algae-based bioproducts for medium and high-value markets (nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, human nutrition, aquafeeds and agriculture) is crucial to maximize profitability and boost the sector performance.
In view of the above, it is aimed to provide the national Algae sector with the necessary capacity and competitive advantages, based on the new product and process innovations, to compete in the global markets and elevate the national brand in the European Blue Bioeconomy. More specifically, the goals are 1) to develop more sustainable and digitalized production processes, that result in increased productivity and reduced costs; 2) to develop more sustainable biomass harvesting, drying and transformation/biorefinery processes, that leverage blue biotechnology to obtain new high-value ingredient and value chains; 3) to develop innovative algae-based applications for the nutraceutical and cosmeceutical markets, pre-prepared meals and novel-food for human consumption, new functional feed for aquaculture, and the development of new agriculture solutions (i.e. biofertilizers, biopesticides and microbiota stimulants); 4) to assess the necessary legal requirements for the approval of the new products and processes and their introduction in the market. The results of the proposed initiatives will create distinctive competitive and mobilizing synergies in the national Blue Bioeconomy, namely translated into a direct cooperation with the Food, Feed and Textiles WP, within the project.