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SUNBUILT, Thomas More University College (i.c.w. VITO)

SUNBUILT is as a collaboration between the Thomas More university college and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). SUNBUILT encompasses the microalgae research of Thomas More, which is performed on both laboratory scale and pilot scale.

Microalgae form a very promising source of high-value biomolecules with applications in food, feed, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy production. Despite the growing interest, a gap remains between laboratory studies and the use in practice. To close this gap, four pilot-scale closed photobioreactors to cultivate microalgae are built and coupled to a harvest and downstream processing unit within the SUNBUILT project. The photobioreactors are installed at the Thomas More campus in Geel, in a greenhouse with an elaborate climate control system to look at possibilities for microalgae as innovative horticultural crops. Moreover, they are equipped with numerous measuring devices that allow detailed research.

The current research in Thomas More focuses on the optimization of the cultivation conditions for a sustainable and economically feasible production, whereby laboratory tests are translated to pilot scale. However, in SUNBUILT also the remaining value chain is considered by designing downstream technology and examining the feasibility of certain applications or combination of applications in different collaborations.

In summary, by combining technologies and creating innovative ideas, SUNBUILT aims to introduce microalgae as an achievable alternative source of biomass for a broad spectrum of applications.  The SUNBUILT project focuses mainly on the production of high-quality products from algae. Examples of high-quality products are proteins with high content of essential amino acids, high level polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins (A, C, E, K1), antioxidants, enzymes, mono-, oligo- and polysaccharides, pigments such as chlorophylls, carotenoids, phycobillins, and natural toxins (with antifungal effects, …).

SUNBUILT @Thomas More is part of the research group RADIUS that looks at alternative sources of biomass for food, feed and biobased chemicals, which also focusses on the possibilities of insects.


Thomas More (in collaboration with VITO)

Research group: RADIUS

Project: SUNBUILT

Address: Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel

+ 32 (0)14 56 23 10

rut.vleugels@thomasmore.be | sunbuilt@thomasmore.be


 



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