Towards Versatility of Aquatic Production Platforms: Unlocking the Value of Nordic Bioresources (NordAqua)

The NordAqua NCoE brings internationally recognized Nordic senior scientists and younger PIs together with experts in industrial biorefinery fields in order to generate a multidisciplinary platform for rapid transition to sustainable blue bioeconomy.

NordAqua makes use of aquatic photosynthetic organisms in production of biobased chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biofuels, food and feed, as well as in the process of wastewater purification.

Smart production systems for versatile and sustainable blue bioeconomy include (i) the production of cyanobacteria and algal biomass from specific species for biorefinery purposes, expected to result in relatively short-term industrial applications, (ii) the construction and use of synthetic cell factories for direct production of fine chemicals and biofuels, the cells functioning only as a catalyst (longer-term applications), and ultimately (iii) the combination of these two production platforms.

The NCoE will merge the resources of unique collections of aquatic photosynthetic microorganisms maintained in Finland, Sweden and Norway. High-throughput screening of the new collection will allow the identification and subsequent mass production of novel fine chemicals. The aquatic photosynthetic organisms, under the Nordic umbrella, will serve as a template for rational design of cell factories and for efficient biorefinering. Networking will facilitate the up-scaling processes and realization of the sustainability criteria for production systems towards carbon neutral bio-products.

The NCoE will put particular emphasis on education as well as increasing both societal and political awareness of the feasibility of blue bioeconomy. The NCoE will accelerate the transition to bioeconomy based on the sustainable use of land and water resources, enhanced photosynthetic carbon sequestration, and protection of precious water resources.

Partners

NordAqua consists of 10 Nordic universities and research institutes.

  • University of Turku (UTU), Finland
  • University of Helsinki (UH), Finland
  • Umea University (UMU), Sweden
  • Uppsala University (UU), Sweden
  • University of Bergen (UB), Norway
  • SINTEF, Norway
  • The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Norway
  • The Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA), Norway
  • The Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT), Finland
  • The Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), Finland

Besides the academic participants, NordAqua is a consortium with several industrial partners (such as a4f algae for future (Portugal), Smart Chemistry Park (Finland)) and several societal stakeholders. 

Facts about the project
Project manager

Eva-Mari Aro, University of Turku

Duration
5 years