In Germany, around 12 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually, where it is estimated that 75 kilograms of food are thrown by each individual every year. According to Bundesministerium Für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft 2021, reducing food waste in private households can lessen the greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, i.e. cut by 6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in Germany. Recently, food waste has been suggested as a growth medium for microalgae and algal cell harvest. In that context, PhycoKult at AWI is dedicated to enhance phycocyanin production from microalgae. Biorefinery of food waste for dual application in microalgae cultivation and harvest could reduce the overall phycocyanin production cost with simultaneous efficient treatment of food wastes.
Dr. Abomohra will join our team for nine months starting from 01.01.2023 as Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Researcher with the research theme entitled “Developing a Novel Integrated System for Dual Microalgae Cultivation and Harvest through Biorefinery of Food Waste: Large-Scale Study at PhycoKult for Phycocyanin Production”. Specifically, the project aims at;
1. Selection of phycocyanin-producing microalga with high potential to grow in tubular PBRs.
2. Evaluation of different food waste for cultivation/harvest of the selected microalgal candidates.
3. Evaluation of phycocyanin production using different waste resources.
4. The influence of harvest method using food waste on phycocyanin recovery and quality.
5. Evaluation of biomass residue for aquaculture feed or biofuel production.
6. Potential of large-scale cultivation using the current tubular PBRs system at AWI.
7. Economic feasibility of the proposed food waste system comparing to the conventional cultivation/harvest.
Through understanding the composition and action of different fractions of food waste on microalgal cells, the problems associated with microalgae cultivation and harvest can be addressed by developing a novel system for large-scale microalgal biomass production. Thus, this project will provide significant benefits for expanding cutting-edge knowledge in biological science and environmental engineering for production of cost-effective valuable compounds from microalgae. Moreover, the suggested approach can be applied for production of many other valuable products from different microalgae such as astaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene, and canthaxanthin. It also could serve the aim of clean biofuel production through recycling of the residual biomass after phycocyanin extraction to produce bioethanol and/or biodiesel. Due to the long stay of Dr. Abomohra in China and his wide network with many Chinese universities, the project will allow knowledge transfer and academic exchange between Germany and China. In addition, cultivation of
microalgae on wastes could participate to solve the issues of water-energy nexus in Egypt as the country is facing sever energy and freshwater crisis in recent years.
Dr. Abomohra, PhD, is currently a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the Department of Environmental Engineering, School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chengdu University (China). He received his PhD in “Phycology” through a cooperation program between Tanta University (Egypt) and Hamburg University (Germany) funded by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). He performed postdoctoral research at Hamburg University (Germany) and Harbin Institute of Technology (China). After his graduation, he worked as a faculty member at Tanta University (Egypt), Jiangsu University (China) and Chengdu University (China).
His major is interdisciplinary of microbiology and environmental engineering. He has stupendous research experiences and finite vision in the field of biotechnology and biofuel production. According to Web of Science, he published 131 SCI papers, with 6 papers as “Highly Cited Paper”. In 2020, he nominated among the Top-10 publications and citation at Tanta University (Egypt). In addition, he was one of the World’s Top 2% of Scientists List published by Stanford University. Recently in 2020, he published a very valuable review article in one of the top energy journals “Progress in Energy and Combustion Science” (CiteScore 60.6 and Impact Factor 35.339, click here). Currently, he is the head of the New Energy and Environmental Laboratory (NEEL) at Chengdu University. His research group is primarily working on bioenergy production from different biomass feedstocks and wastes.