Algae are currently the acclaimed green solution for diverse problems as they serve as a sustainable feedstock for biofuel production, animal and human food/nutrition, and a natural alternative for numerous pharmaceuticals like antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Despite their ubiquitous presence in nature, microalgae need to be cultivated in enormous quantities to accomplish these roles. Algal cultivation, harvesting and dewatering for the preparation of algal biomass is the most cost incurring part of algal-based products. Resource efficiency is the key for energy and cost effective algal biomass production. Algae are also a commercial source of high value products like carotenoids (astaxanthin, β-carotene) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, in addition to carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. An algal biorefinery aims at complete utilization of the biomass for the production of a range of products which is beneficial from the economic perspective. Resource efficiency could also mean the reuse/recycling of otherwise waste streams like harvest water, processing of algal biomass residues after extraction of the commercial products, as well as the thermochemical conversion of the residual biomass to useful products, such as biochar and fuels. In addition to serving as a sustainable feedstock, microalgae are also known to play a pivotal role in environmental protections.
Bioresource Technology will publish a special issue (SI) entitled “Algal biorefinery” aiming at providing a platform for showcasing recent and valuable research advances in algal biorefinery and circular economy concepts. The key concept of this SI is to feature the varieties of applications of the whole microalgal biomass and a complete closure would be a mineralization process to complete the C/N cycles with economic and environmental benefits.
• Microalgae-based wastewater treatment
• CO2 capture, utilization and storage technologies using microalgae
• Thermochemical conversion of algal biomass
• Novel photobioreactor or bioprocess design for algal cultivation
• High-value products from algal biorefineries
• Applications of molecular biological tools in algal biorefinery
• High-efficiency and low-cost downstream processing
• Economic analysis and life-cycle assessment