NOVEL STRATEGIES AND MATERIALS FOR THE RECOVERY OF HIGH-VALUE VOLATILE FATTY ACIDS (VFAS) FROM ORGANIC RESIDUES
Deadline for applications for September entry: Friday 21 July 2017
We propose to explore a new approach to the production and recovery of high value VFAs from organic waste streams. These intermediates, which are traditionally synthetized chemically from petroleum sources, have extensive commercial applications for production of various bio-based products, such as biofuels, biochemicals, polymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates, feeds and pharmaceuticals. Our approach involves combining: i) a novel mixed culture anaerobic fermentation system – developed by our collaborators in NUIG – used for production of high yields of targeted VFAs from organic residues; and ii) a range of novel natural and synthetic polymer-based sorbents – developed within QUB – for VFA capture and recovery from fermentation leachates or liquid streams. By combining these two technologies there exists a unique opportunity to develop a technology for the production and purification of high value VFAs from organic waste streams. Yet only through an improved understanding of the scientific basis of these processes can their full potential as commercially viable VFA removal and recovery systems be realised. This new initiative we will draw together a unique multidisciplinary group of scientists and use the expertise and experience in both NUIG and QUB to develop a combined process that will be of benefit to both those industries producing organic waste streams and those utilizing VFAs as a platform chemical. This is reflected in the diversity of companies wishing to engage with the project and their willingness to supply feedstocks for the technology trialing phase of this proposal, including Devenish Nutrition, Dale Farm and Moy Park.
More information and to application portal here.