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Study of Desmodesmus sp. mixotrophic growth using vinasse as carbon source

Grant number: 15/26266-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2016
Effective date (End): March 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Daniel Santos Fernandes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Currently, environmental sector is faced with the greenhouse effect emission problem and biofuel feedstocks, which are competitive with the food industry and limited in supplies. Microalgae have great importance in the development of biofuels, since they are rich in lipids which are of the importance for biodiesel production. The microalgae can grow on various kinds of culture medium, provided with sufficient nutrients sources for metabolites accumulation in their cells. The vinasse is a by-product of the bioethanol industry and is currently used to generate energy in boilers, as a fertilizer and in production of biogas via digestion. The vinasse shows great potential as the culture medium because it has high amounts of nitrogen and carbon and represents good candidate as feedstock for biodiesel production using microalgae. This scientific initiation work aims to study the feasibility of vinasse as a carbon source for growth of microalgae Desmodesmus sp. and microalgal lipid production under mixotrophic conditions. To achieve that, biomass growth rate, consumption of carbon and nitrogen, and the amount of accumulated lipids in cells will be determined using laboratory glassware and photobioreactor. Subsequently, photobioreactor will be simulated to obtain basic mass and energy balance of the process by Aspen Plus® software.

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