Europe's First and Only Carbon Negative Biorefinery Plant Opened

Europe's First and Only Carbon Negative Biorefinery Plant Opened
Europe's First and Only Carbon Negative Biorefinery Plant Opened

It was implemented within the scope of the "Integrated Biorefinery Concept for Bioeconomy-Oriented Development (INDEPENDENT) Project", which was financed within the framework of the financial cooperation of the European Union and Turkey and supported by the Competitive Sectors Program of the Ministry of Industry and Technology. With the project, jet fuel will be obtained from algae-based microorganisms (algae).

The opening of the facility was attended by Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut and Rector of Boğaziçi University Prof. Dr. It was held at the Sarıtepe Campus of Boğaziçi University in Kilyos with the participation of Mehmet Naci İnci.


Minister Varank, in his speech here, stated that approximately 6 million Euros was supported for this project, which was developed in cooperation with Boğaziçi University and Boğaziçi Technopark, and said, “When I look at the content and results of this project, which personally excites me, I think that the project deserves this support until the end. I am confident and sincerely believe that it will make a great contribution to our green transformation goals in the economy with the innovative and environmentalist technologies it has introduced.” he said.


Varank, the established facility; Stating that it is one of the most important centers carrying out studies in the field of algae biotechnology all over the world, he said that it stands out not only with the products it produces, but also with its physical structure as a green facility.


Stating that the entire electricity need of the facility is met from the wind power plant, Varank said, “With this aspect, it is Europe's first and only carbon negative biorefinery. Here, many critical products that our country needs or have a current account deficit will be developed and produced here with a bioeconomy-oriented integrated production model. We are talking about a wide range of products from energy to agriculture, from health to food. These products will be obtained entirely from natural resources based on algae and with local resources, without being dependent on any fossil resources. You can see samples of some of these products with me. Each of these is more valuable than the other, but the most outstanding in terms of economic potential is biofuel. For a country like Turkey that is dependent on foreign oil, biofuels are a serious alternative.” he said.


Minister Varank stated that thanks to the biofuel to be produced at the facilities, a significant part of the energy need can be met in a cost-effective and safe manner. Stating that they are working on the use of the biofuel to be produced here in airplanes, Varank said, “THY, using the biofuel produced here, we want to perform the first flight this year, before the second half of the year. We trust Boğaziçi University and our scientists. Let's put this fuel on our plane, let's organize a trip from Ankara to Kahramanmaraş together. Because we have another EU project there. Let's open it together. When this project is completed, we will reduce our external dependence on energy and reduce our costs, while minimizing carbon emissions.” used the phrases.


Emphasizing the importance of the continuity of agricultural production, Varank said, “Special algae species grown in controlled production areas without the need for agricultural land have started to play an important role in the supply of healthy food. In this context, R&D activities are also carried out in the INDEPENDENT project in order to obtain high quality food products with completely domestic resources.” said.


Explaining that an important product is produced to meet the protein needs of people with algae called “Spirulina”, Varank said, “Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids, which we all know from fish oil, are produced here entirely from algae. We will see the production process of these algae together after the program. Of course, the contribution of the project in the field of food is not limited to products produced directly from algae. It is aimed to provide a great support to agricultural production by means of feed and fertilizer to be developed and produced here.” he said.


Varank explained that the feed and fertilizer obtained from high-nutrient algae with domestic means will have a great potential to reduce the dependency in this area, and it will reduce the costs of agricultural inputs. Varank stated that with this project, many innovative, environmentally friendly, high value-added products and technologies have been developed for Turkey's locomotive sectors, and that the experience, knowledge and knowledge gained here will be transferred to the private sector thanks to the project. development, product testing and analysis services will be provided.


Stating that SMEs and entrepreneurs will be able to invest in algae biotechnology by reducing their initial costs, Varank talked about the academics who contributed to the project, Berat Haznedaroğlu, who is at the beginning of the project, coming to Turkey as part of TÜBİTAK's Return to Home Research Scholarship Program. Varank also repatriated many talented and successful names like him to the country. kazanNoting that they wanted to continue their research, he invited all Turkish or foreign scientists abroad to Turkey.


Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez stated that an important R&D project has been implemented on behalf of Turkey and said, “We will produce algae-based natural resources, which we call algae, without being dependent on fossil fuels. Significant progress has been made in the R&D project carried out for the production of biojet and biodiesel fuels. The R&D studies of the jet fuel project have been completed. With the facility we will open today, large-scale production is started. All tests and certification processes will be completed in the second quarter of 2022. Hopefully, we plan to perform our first demo flight this year. When you board a plane that uses biofuels, you will be traveling with 80 percent less greenhouse gasses without harming the balance of the world.” used the phrases.


At the opening, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut and Rector of Boğaziçi University Prof. Dr. Mehmet Naci İnci also gave information about the facility. While the opening ribbon of the facility was cut after their speeches, Ministers Varank and Dönmez made examinations at the facility. During the facility inspections, Ministers Varank and Dönmez offered journalists some foods such as cake, cake and chocolate obtained from algae.


The jet engine was tested using biojet fuel obtained from algae. Minister Varank, meanwhile, said in a statement, “This is the biojet fuel obtained from algae here. Normally, international aviation allows you to use 50 percent fuel and 50 percent biojet fuel. After we certify our biojet fuel, which we produce at these facilities, within the year, THY will start using it. It will provide Turkey with a significant advantage both economically and environmentally.” used the phrases.


With the INDEPENDENT Project, it is aimed to obtain products and technologies based on a bioeconomy-oriented growth model for health and energy fields from completely algae (algae)-based natural resources, with an integrated production model, without being dependent on fossil resources.


It is planned to develop human food supplement products, pharmaceutical components, animal feed applications, organic fertilizers and biofuels from micro and macroalgae to be grown in algae production reactors to be established on land and sea. Fully powered by wind energy, the facility will be the first carbon-negative integrated biorefinery in Turkey and Europe when it starts operating at full capacity. In the facility to be established, approximately 1200 tons of wet algae mass will be processed annually.


6% of the 85 million Euro budget of the project is supported by the European Union and 15% by the Ministry of Industry and Technology under the Competitive Sectors Programme. The target groups of the project, which is designed as a zero-waste target, carbon-negative, integrated biorefinery system under the roof of Istanbul Microalgae Biotechnology Research and Development Unit (IMBIYOTAB), operating in Boğaziçi University Sarıtepe Campus, include entrepreneurial SMEs, R&D companies and R&D companies in the relevant sectors. Technology Development Zones.

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