May 2020 - May 2024

Sustainable multi-strain, multi-method, multi-product microalgae biorefinery integrating industrial side streams to create high-value products

A4F as Coordinator

MULTI-STR3AM is driven by a critical need to shift to a sustainable means of producing food, feed and raw materials. Microalgae represent a promising solution to address the growing recognition that current agricultural and manufacturing practices are causing irreparable environmental damage. Microalgae, have a vast biosynthetic potential and are a rich source of lipids, protein and high-value compounds such as pigments. Despite these advantages, they are underexploited as a crop. This is due to barriers of scale, which mean that microalgae products struggle to achieve the same economies as conventional products, such as palm oil or soybean. MULTI-STR3AM addresses these challenges by scaling up and lowering costs, providing valuable products for large end users in the food, feed and fragrance sectors. The project reduces costs, increases scale and boosts sustainability, through: i) constant improvement of strains through non-GM methods, to increase their productivity and meet end user needs; ii) design and engineering improvements to cultivation and harvesting technologies to reduce CAPEX and OPEX of biomass production; iii)  exploitation of industrial and own side streams during cultivation in a circular economy design; iv) synergistic integration of different technologies in a multi-strain, multi-method, multi-product biorefinery (‘MULTI-biorefinery’); and v) valorisation of every fraction of the microalgal biomass in a zero waste approach. 

MULTI-STR3AM will demonstrate 7 consumer products, 6 of which are new, including: lipids for edible spreads; protein, carbohydrates and lipids for feed ingredients for poultry, pigs and ruminants; and protein and small organic compounds as building blocks for the fragrance industry. By engaging global actors from the industrial, academic and non-profit sectors, MULTI-STR3AM creates a roadmap for economically viable industrial-scale microalgae cultivation, towards a sustainable future for European bio-based industries.