Technical feasibility

PART B: VALORISATION PLAN

SECTION I: Testing

 

1 Has the R & D result been tested?
YES no

 

 

If no:

 

1c Describe what type of testing does the R&D result need?
Since the technology in question is in its essence an analysis and selection of a combination of the best and most suitable species of microalgae to grow in a way that is best compatible with and best matching the composition of the gas mix obtained as a waste matter from the processes of burning in a given thermo-electrical power plant for instance, it cannot be expected that there is a unified standardised testing to be reliable and applicable to all cases (to the different gas mixtures). Testing consists in customised prototypes for different clients/cases. Testing should rather be done with regards to the sequence of actions and operations that are needed for analysing the gas composition along with precise definition of the best match of microalgae species combination.

Greon plans to test a bioreactor as well as 10 species on average on a quarterly basis. The simultaneous tests run on species, bioreactors and bioprocesses will enhance significantly Greon’s knowledge base with verified information plotted against economical terms. Therefore, the following milestones are crucial for the successful development of Greon’s technology and know-how:

a. Development of species knowledge base, suitable for waste mitigation for a variety of flue gases/ waste waters, based on combustion processes and chemical industry waste.

b. Development of a basic design of successful bioreactors that have a portfolio of species to be run with.

c. Proprietary technology development, e.g patent applications for Greon’s technology. d. Development of customised prototypes for a number of different clients.

e. Definite endpoints for a two year period will be the launch of tailored prototype and its validating at an industrial client site and the development of scalable algae to biofuels solution. Both steps (independently and/ or at the same time) are considered the first step towards a break even point.

In terms of bioprocess design and optimization of a bioreactor for specific industrial waste product, several conceptually different bioreactor types are planned to be verified for their efficiency during the R&D phase: photobioreactors (PBR), airllift bioreactors, fine-bubble and thin layer bioreactors. The development is also based on literature review with original modifications for mass transfer and fluid dynamics, as well as several of Greon’s innovations for bioreactor development, tested against best examples published in the scientific literature so far. The most successful in efficiency and economical terms bioreactors can be provided both in prototype and basic design format within a two-year period.

N.B: Greon is not planning to test any lab scale bioreactors, commercially available by biotechnology instrumentation companies.

 

Software design for automation control and feasibility analysis of the combination species/ bioreactor/ bioprocesses – proprietary software product will be required at a later stage of the development, as Greon believe that fully automated control unit has to be designed and offered to customers.

 

1d. What is the time needed for testing?
For justifying the test results it is assumed that at least three tests need to be made in terms of three different gas mixtures of different origin. At present the R&D team is in the process of making such a test with a gas mixture coming from the industrial waste from a cement factory. Other tests could be made with a gas mixture from a thermo-electric power plant working on the basis of coal, as well as a gas mixture from the burning process of heavy oil. The time needed for these tests is expected to be between 1 and 2 years.

 

 

1e. What is the cost needed for testing?
Besides the above-described test actions and respective costs, the prototype cost will also include experiments aimed to test and validate the scalability of the processes. Testing on working industrial installation at the last phase of the project is expected. The last phase will also include molecular biology of the selected strains (comprehensive techniques that feed information to the automation system for control and analysis), as well as bioprocesses design and optimization that are synchronized with the effectiveness and efficiency of the bioreactor.

The cost needed for the testing is estimated to be about 50 000 EUR.

 

 

SECTION 2: Current Stage of Development

 

2a To what extent does the development team have technical resources for supporting the production of a new product? (Researchers, human resources, hardware, etc. )
The development team consists of:

-        R&D manager,

-        Business development manager,

-        Laboratory technician, and

-        Software developer.

This team is at the disposal of the company. The company is not currently employing them full-time, but in case the company starts working on further development and commercialisation of this technology, the team can be mobilised.

 

 

2b What are the technical issues that need to be tackled for full deployment, if needed?
The technology is based on customisation of the match between the microalgae strains and the gas mixture used. With regards to this, full deployment of the technology could be achieved only after a significant number of technologies are developed and applied in laboratory conditions.
2c What additional technical resources are needed for the production of this new product?
The technical resources needed for further development of the technology are a laboratory equipment with test chemicals and a bioreactor.

 

2d Overall assessment of the current stage of technical development.
The technology is in the process of being tested in a particular case – combination of microalgae species to match the gas mixture from the waste matter from a cement factory. The major stages of the technology have been defined but their scope and sequence have to be further tested when analysing other gas mixtures, e.g. when burning heavy oil or coal.

 

SECTION 3: Deployment

3a Define the demands for large scale production in terms of
  • Materials
In terms of the materials – the technology demands for a constant resource of CO2. This can be ensured by locating the technology close to a factory that produces CO2 as part of its waste matter.

In terms of the strains of the microalgae – after analysing the gas composition and defining the most suitable strains of microalgae, they have to be purchased.

 

  • technologies, tools, machineries
For obtaining big quantities of biomass, it is necessary to have a large water tank for growing the microalgae, as well as a technology for introducing the gas into the water tank.
  • Staff effort
The staff needed is four different specialists – R&D Manager, Business Development Manager, Lab Technician and Software Developer. This team is capable of developing tailored technologies and solutions for the different customers and has the capacity to satisfy the demand on the Bulgarian market.

 

 

 

SECTION 4: Overall Assessment

 

1 What is you overall assessment of the technical feasibility of the research result?
 

The technical feasibility of the R&D result can be assessed as high. In technical terms the R&D result is in the analysis of the gas composition and the identification of the most suitable combination of microalgae strains that would produce maximum quantity of biomass for a relevantly short period of time. The different elements of this analysis are conventional. The advantage of the R&D result in comparison to the others is in proposing the best match between the microalgae strains and the gas composition of achieving optimum effect.

 

 

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