Dr. F. Gabriel Acién FernándezProfessor
Chemical Engineering, University of Almería, Spain
Speech Title: SABANA project: Demonstrating the application of microalgae in agriculture and aquaculture
Abstract: The production of microalgae for agriculture and aquaculture related applications has been demonstrated at pre-commercial scale as part of activities related with SABANA project. Thus, a R&D facility up to 0.5 ha and a pre-commercial 1.5 ha facility have been put in operation producing selected microalgae strains for those purposes. It has been demonstrated that freshwater and seawater microalgae strains, as Scenedesmus and Nannochloropsis, can be produced for aquaculture related applications including using manure as nutrients source. However, some contaminations problems can arise then precise protocols to ensure safety of produced biomass being required. Anyway, microalgae biomass incorporated to aquafeed provide interesting pro-biotic effects. In the case of agriculture related applications, although seawater strains are also interesting, the most powerful are freshwater. Robust freshwater strains capable to be produced outdoor along the entire annual cycle demonstrate to provide biostimulant effect to higher plants including when producing using wastewater. The integration of wastewater treatment into the microalgae production process largely increases the sustainability of the entire process, also greatly reducing the biomass production cost. Large scale reactors up to 1.000 m2, operated in continuous mode all the year around, demonstrate that the production of valuable biomass for those applications was possible. Low cost and energy consuming harvesting and processing schemes also demonstrate that to obtain marketable products is feasible. Techno-economic analysis shows as agriculture related applications are today the most interesting, the development of new products to increase the yield and sustainability of foods production by agriculture being highly promising.
Biography: Graduated by the University of Granada in 1992, and Ph.D. at the University of Almería (Spain) in 1996. Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Almería from 2012 onwards. Prof. Acién has participated in 12 European projects in addition to 40 National projects and contracts with companies. Regarding publications, he published more than 100 papers in international journals and 12 book chapters, in addition to 10 patents. He is member of International Society for Applied Phycology and Latino American Society for Algal and Environmental Biotechnology, and editor of Algal Research and RELABIAA journals, in addition to reviewer of international journals. Major contributions on Biotechnology of microalgae field are related with the improvement of photobioreactors design, scale-up of production systems, and economic analysis of production processes. (orcid.org/0000-0002-8434-0365, Scopus ID: 55385950700).