Title: Using seaweed to enhance ethanol production
Project partner: Venus Shell Systems Pty Ltd
Venus Shell Systems (VSS) grows premium, quality controlled, seaweed biomass for use in the production of human nutraceuticals, functional foods, animal feeds, agricultural products and novel biomaterials. Seaweed can also be used to sequester CO2 and organic nutrients and to this end, VSS is looking to integrate a seaweed cultivation system into the resources stream of a large ethanol distillery.
This distillery converts industrial grade wheat flour into its primary products of protein and carbohydrate. A bye-product of the carbohydrate production is ethanol. These activities result in the production of hundreds of tons of CO2, nitrogen, phosphorous and salts per day. If VSS could grow seaweed on site at the distillery then they could utilize these nutrient streams, whilst at the same time reduce carbon emissions and increase recuperation of biogas for powering the boilers of the distillery. The seaweed produced from such a setup could then be sold for use in value added products such as those mentioned above.
The aim of this project is to develop mathematical models that inform engineers and scientists on how to best integrate these two systems. Identification of key control and optimisation parameters in the framework of known constraints is a key objective of this project.