Cyanobacterial Bio-Refineries

Photosynthetic cyanobacteria can be genetically engineered to produce numerous chemicals using CO2, water and sunlight. Moreover, opportunities to utilize waste water and CO2 sources present environmental benefits and lower waste treatment burdens. To this end, we develop a complete cyanobacterial biorefinery framework, which incorporates all relevant subsystems: supply, production, separation and market (see Figure 1).

Specifically, the following problems are being investigated: (1) CO2, water, and nutrients supply with integration of waste water treatment facilities and power plants; (2) design of the open pond production subsystem; (3) separation processes of products; (4) chemical market feasibility analysis; and (5) integration of all the subsystems.

Figure 1. Cyanobacterial biorefinery system. WWT = waste water treatment; cb = cyanobacteria; prod = product; nutr. = nutrient.

Figure 1. Cyanobacterial biorefinery system. WWT = waste water treatment; cb = cyanobacteria; prod = product; nutr. = nutrient.