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POLYMER AND PROCESS ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
PROCESS PLANT DESIGN
Term Project
Group-1
Author(s) Names(s)
Mian Husnain Iqbal 2017-PE-21
Zumar Ahmad 2017-PE-01
Amin Javaid 2017-PE-02
Amina Amjad 2017-PE-08
Noor Fatima 2017-PE-17
Minahil Mukhtar 2017-PE-43
21ST
February , 2021
Email: mianhusnainiqbal281@gmail.com
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Yasir Qayyum Gill
2
Plant Design for bioplastic production from
Microalgae in Pakistan
3
Contents
1 Introduction ..........................................................................................................................................4
2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................................................5
3 Types of microalgae for potential bioplastic production....................................................................10
3.1 Chlorella......................................................................................................................................10
3.2 Spirulina ......................................................................................................................................10
3.3 Other microalgae species for bioplastic production...................................................................11
3.4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers ..................................................................................................12
4 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN DATA OF MICROALGAE...........................................................................13
4.1 Production of Microalgae: ..........................................................................................................13
4.2 Mass Balance ..............................................................................................................................14
4.3 Energy Balance:...........................................................................................................................15
5 Flow sheet for the production of PHB ................................................................................................15
5.1 Manufacturing process ...............................................................................................................15
5.2 Processing conditions [11]..........................................................................................................17
6 SELECTING LOCATION FOR PLANT [12]...............................................................................................17
6.1 FACTOR EFFECTING THE PANT ESTABLISHMENT:[13] ...............................................................18
6.2 ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMICAL FACTOR:.........................................................................19
6.3 WHY TO PREFER BIOPLASTIC UNIT IN PAKISTAN :......................................................................19
4
1 INTRODUCTION
Microalgae is an organism that belongs to the unicellular eukaryotic protists, prokaryotic
cyanobacteria, and blue-green algae. It have withdrawn a great attention of industrialists due to
its remarkable properties. According to the recent searches microalgae have more than 25.000
forms of species among which 15 has major use as a resource of many industrial products. Many
environmental friendly green plant processes have been develope in order to minimize the waste
and for energy saving such as Phytoremediation. Which is an excellent recovery system for
many resources. Via this process the recovery of microalgae species from aquaculture wastes is
done and the microalgae is then used as source of industrial biopolymers having excellent
characteristics.
Microalgae plays a major role in the bioremediation process of industrial waste including heavy
metals, dyes, toxic gases, and petroleum contaminants. Whereas, another specie of microalgae is
capable of bioremediating of aquaculture effluents. It converts the inorganic nutrients to
“particulate nutrient packs” via photosynthesis reaction and oxidation of ammonia to nitrate
which is less toxic in nature.
The major importance of microalgae lies in its applications over a wide range of products. The
major aquaculture usage of microalgae is that it serves as animal feed worldwide and
approximately 30% of the algae are produced to fulfill the need of this area. Microalgae serve as
feed for larval fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The aquaculture waste is rich in solid particles and
nutrients including phosphorous and nitrogen. It is considered that the removal of nutrients from
waste water is a very cost effective and efficient method.
Microalgae are widely used commercially as bioactive compounds that serves as a raw material
for many commodity and engineering grade products. This is a source of alga Haematococcus
pluvialis and the natural source of dyes and many products.
biofilters are used to extract nutrients from aquaculture waste that is further used in the
cultivation of microalgae which serve as a raw material for cosmetic and pharmaceutical
products. Production of biofuel is also done via the the microalgae because of the oil content and
biomass they consist of. This is gaining a huge potential for growth of industrial sector. The most
major form of microalgae used in the production of engineering as well as commodity products
are Chlorella, Tetraselmis, Scenedesmus, Pavlova, Phaeodactylum, Chaetoceros,
Nannochloropsis, Skeletonema and Thalassiosira. They have high growth and are stable against
temperature, light and nutrients in hatchery systems. Microalgae consist of a good nutrient
composition and absence of toxins t avoid it transfer into the food chain.
5
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
Senem Onen at al. in their research study examined the work done by different researchers on
the use of microalgal species and their properties and behavior giving a potential pathway of
potential bioplastic production. Products with similar properties using biological feedstocks
could be obtained instead of using fossil-based resources. But bioplastics derived from terrestrial
crops affects the food chain and use large area for the growth of crops that can be utilized for
bioplastic production hence not sustainable hence microalgae can be preferred. Two approaches
i.e., cultivating pure biopolymer or blending with petroleum-based polymers can be used for
bioplastic production. Chlorella vulgaris and Spirulina were the two microalgae identified which
can be potentially used for commercial bioplastic production. Spirulina was found to have better
blending properties however, chlorella produced better quality products. However, if 6% melic
anhydride compatibilizer is used in the concentration mixture, the quality of blending as well as
product could be improved. Glycerol is the most commonly used plasticizer in production of
microalgae-based biopolymers. The cultivation of microalgae was found to be ambiguous as all
the cultivation techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Open pound cultivation is
considered cheap and of high production capacity as compared to closed one (PBR) but impact
of impurities is large. The main cost around 20 to 30% for the bioplastic production comes from
harvesting of microalgae. And the methods finally identified for bioplastic production were Melt
mixing and Compression molding but there is still need for the development of bioplastic
production process from economics point of view to be considered as a hotline for industrial
purposes [1].
A study for the use of microalgae in the bioplastic applications has been done by Wilson G.
Morais Junior in 2020. He also states the processing techniques for microalgae such as
cultivation and harvesting. He analyzes five microalgae related species: Dunaliella,
Botryococcus, Chlamydomonas, Chlorella and Arthrospira, viewed as one of the most effective
for commercial biological activities. Among the above 5 specie only Chlorella has been using in
most of the biological applications. Applications for elevated components and extracts from
these five microalgae are portrayed, in specific for the production of pharmaceuticals
supplements, pigments and cosmetics [2].
A study for the applications of microalgae in the preparation of biopolymers was performed by
Eleni Koutra and Christina N. Economou. A process for the cultivation of microalgae is
explained in the research. In cultivation systems, the use of effluents from biogas processing
units, called digestates, can help optimize bioprocesses and many bioproducts can be obtained,
including biofuels, biofertilizers, proteins and useful chemicals. An impressive area of scientific
research, technology and innovation reflects the possible uses and applications of microalgal
biomass. It is important to define and manipulate the most critical parameters affecting the target
materials, with the goal of increasing efficiency and to reduce production costs [3].
6
Fig: 1 Natural Habitat of Different Microalgae
Another study was performed by Wen Yi Chia, Doris Ying Ying Tang to deal with the
pollution caused by the plastics by replacing it with the bioplastics formed by micro algae. This
review provides new insights into various methods of producing bioplastics based on algae (e.g.
mixing with other materials and genetic engineering), followed by a discussion of challenges and
further research directions to increase their commercial feasibility. Research on algae-based
bioplastics is still in the stage of experimentation or infancy and cannot be marketed on an
industrial scale, which makes it necessary to advance technology and continuous R&D in
bioplastics. In the near future, a large portion of bioplastics can be sustainably generated from
algae biomass by further exploring the algal role in bioplastic degradation [4].
Maleeka Manzoor et al. worked on the production of the microalgae as a feed stock for certain
other green uses i.e. biodiesel. They manifested that the micro algae growth is nourished in the
presence of the favorable temperatures, solar light, and nitrogen opulent. The cultivation of
microalgae is not suitable at plowable land. Hence, they devised a new approach for algae
development by inhouse algae manufacturing by industrial waste known as In situ microalgal
cultivation. According to this approach it should be compulsory for the industries to create
microalgal production ponds and hence they become the source of this basic raw material and
more over their wastewater treatment cost reduces and become profitable. They devised different
routes to produce microalgae [5].
7
Fig: 2 Processing of Microalgae
This article covers the most effective methods of harvesting microalgae from its culture. There is
no specific method for the recovery of microalgae that could be considered as standard method.
Method designs are variable according to the cell morphology, size and other structural
properties of the culture whereas, the end application and quality of product is also kept under
consideration. To get better recovery of microalgae from its culture composite methods are used
to harvest it which includes thickening and dewatering. By considering the end use application
and further processing and properties of microalgae bioflocculation followed by gravity
8
sedimentation was found to be the most efficient and economically viable method for recovery of
microalgea. The chances of contamination in case of bioflocculation are the major concern of
engineering products and high quality products. In order to avoid the presence of toxic chemical
coagulants in microalgea the electrical methods are found to be the safest route. Using
microalgea in green process is still a very expensive method the major cause of this is the cost of
the harvesting of the specie from its culture. Each method used to recover microalgea from
biomass has its own cons and pros whereas; the selection is done on the basis of nature of culture
medium and characteristics of target product [6].
Microalgae are gaining a huge attention of nutraceutical and biopharmaceutical industries as a
source of renewable and sustainable bio-fuels and bioactive medical products. The remarkable
biological and pharmaceutical properties have made it a potential species to be researched. The
environmental friendly and economical biofuel is replacing the fossil fuels burning. Microalgae
have a potential to generate carbohydrates, lipids, and other bioactive metabolites via using the
atmospheric CO2. Major challenges in this regards are the up-gradation of the technique from lab
scale to industrial scale. Whereas, the major concern in upgrading this production to industrial
scale is growth rate of microalgae, synthesis of microalgae, pretreatment, fermentation and
optimization of production of algal bioethanol [7].
This article explains the culturing parameters and cons and pros of different methods of
production of various bioactive compounds via the waste water treatment plant. As shown in the
figure below:
Fig: 3
9
Fig: 4
10
3 Types of microalgae for potential bioplastic production
Commonly used microalgae species, additives or chemicals utilized in bioplastic production are
explained below [1]:
3.1 Chlorella
Chlorella is a genus of green algae, found in freshwater containing about 58% (by weight)
protein. Its dense cells wall and higher thermal stability provides higher crack resistance. Higher
product quality can be achieved using Chlorella as compared to other common microalgal
species as verified by conducted different tests. However, it has not good compatibility with
other polymers if blending is to be done. Some compatibilizer has to be used for blending
chlorella with polymer to produce bioplastic.
Different studies are present on the use of Chlorella microalgae as summarized below in the
table.
Table 1: Summary of conducted studies for Chlorella[1]
3.2 Spirulina
Spirulina, has been used in the food industry for many years as a protein source, as it is known
for its potential to adapt to extreme environments. Spirulina platensis contains a high
concentration (60% by weight) of protein. Spirulina has a small cell size as same as in Chlorella
which making them attractive for bioplastic blend production. But still, both show different
behaviors and bioplastic properties e.g., while blending with PE due to their varying amino acid
11
contents entirely different set of properties is obtained. The use of spirulina is also summarized
in the table below
Table 2: Summary of conducted studies for Spirulina[1]
Chlorella Spirulina
3.3 Other microalgae species for bioplastic production
Most of the research has been focused on the above two mentioned microalgae when it comes to
the production of bioplastics from it. But there are some other microalgal species as well which
has shown potential to be used for the production of high-quality bioplastic which can be used as
alternatives of petroleum-based commodity polymers. They are also listed below in the table.
12
Table 3: Other microalgae species for bioplastic production [1]
Here, the PHB bioplastics are of the most importance. According to Monshupanee et al.[8] who
studied intracellular production of PHB using microalgae, PHB (polyhydroxy butyrate)
accumulation during the production process can be optimized using the amount of acetate
supply, varying light and nutrient conditions. Optimum production rates could be obtained by
implementing heterotrophy in the dark. PHB levels of 10.6% to 17% of dry weight can be
obtained respectively from Chlorella fritschii and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Calothrix
scytonemicola, Scenedesmus almeriensis, and Neochloris oleobundans are also suitable for
intracellular biopolymer production since they are either starch or PHA rich microalgae species.
3.4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers
Plasticizers are used to improve the processibility and flexibility of a material when mixed with
it. The most commonly used plasticizer for the production of bioplastic is Glycerol (C3H8O3).
The presence of glycerol, for the degradation process, improves the availability of the
macromolecules, it also increases the extensibility and flexibility as well as it leads to phase rich
products and improved elongation and is confirmed by different studies.[1]
On the other hand, compatibilizers, when blending biomaterial with polymer, attach their one
end with the concerned polymer and other end with the microalgae specie, is used to bind them
together in order to improve their mechanical strength. Different blend use different
compatibilizers such as such as maleic anhydride, poly(ethylene-co-glycidyl) meth acryloyl
carbamate, grafted ethylene/propylene rubber and diethyl succinate. These compatibilizers are
13
initiated by using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and potassium peroxide sulfate (KPS) initiators to
facilitate compatibilization.
Table 4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers[1]
4 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN DATA OF MICROALGAE
4.1 Production of Microalgae:
Microalgae exist in various atmospheres and many species endure high concentrations of salts
which allow the use of any type of water for the cultivation medium. Microalgae may be
cultivated by two types of systems, such as:
 Open system
 Closed system
The classical cultivation of microalgae designed to generate biomass for human consumption and
aquaculture is the use of reservoirs or ponds. This type of reactor, called Raceway ponds, is
usually open to ponds and lakes or channel type systems. Manufacturing through ponds involves
large areas amidst being inexpensive, since it uses very low levels of air CO2 and thus pollutes
other organisms like mushrooms, bacteria and protozoa. They also exhibit lower photosynthetic
efficiency owing to reduced CO2 and sunlight available only on the pond surface. So, closed
systems are preferred in the industry like photo-bioreactor [9].
Fig: 5 (Open System)
14
Photo-bioreactors not only have higher photosynthetic productivity, but also control of the
temperature of the culture medium, since temperatures normally rise with sunlight exposure and
allow external pollutants control. The choice of the most appropriate system is dependent on the
situation, indicated by both the algae species accessible and the final intended target. The need
for precise measure inhibits any use of open-systems, so the attention turned mostly to closed
systems. The purpose of the photobioreactor photosynthetic process of production of microalgae
biomass is to reduce overall input energy and reach high photosynthetic output. These closed
photo-bioreactors may be located inside or outside, although outdoor locations are more standard
due to the ease of use of free sunlight [9].
Fig: 6 (Closed System)
The comparison between the open and closed system for the production of microalgae is given in
the table below.
[9]
4.2 Mass Balance
The MINLP model with nonlinear and non-convex limitations is developed and resolved using
the BARON54
global optimization solver to optimize the integrated plant design for the
production of PHB [10].
Table: 1 (Comparison between Open and Closed Systems)
15
Where;
fθ
r,j: Mass flowrate of component j from θ to outlet stream r [kg j/day]
fk
θ,j: Mass flowrate of component j from inlet stream k to unit θ [kg j/day]
ξj,sh: Stoichiometric coefficient between component j and component sh [kmol j/kmol sh]
sh: Limiting reactant for reaction for h
Mj: Molecular weight of component j [kg j/kmol j]
Msh: Molecular weight of component sh [kg sh /kmol sh]
Csh: Limiting reactant conversion for reaction h
fk
θ,sh: Mass flow rate of component sh from inlet stream k to unit θ [kg sh/day]
4.3 Energy Balance:
Where ECθ corresponds to energy consumption in unit θ in kWh/day, ECRθ is energy
consumption ratio per unit of mass flow rate relative to unit θ, in kWh/ kg, and mθ is the mass
flow rate relative to unit θ in kg/day. Decanters used for PHB extraction are considered as
gravity separators; hence no power requirements are computed for them [10].
5 Flow sheet for the production of PHB
A belongs to a group of biopolymers produced from microorganisms. The most studied bio-
degradable polymer is poly hydroxy butyrate (PHB). It has high crystallinity and properties like
polyolefins. There is a flow sheet represent the processing for its production [11].
This is the lab scale process but we can scale it up by
 Using inexpensive substrate
 Optimizing process parameters
 By proper designing of bioreactor system
 Past data and modern mathematical models for monitoring and control.
 Modern technology for PHB recovery with minimum cost.
5.1 Manufacturing process
Manufacturing process consist of the following steps
16
a) Metabolic Engineering
In this step, modification in the cellular structure of the micro-organism takes place for the
production of specific compound. This process decrease cost, increase yield and efficiency.
b) Strain screening and selection
Isolation shows potential for PHB production used to detect the presence of PHB granules within
the cells of algae.
c) Optimization of media process parameters
Systematic mixture analysis can be used to determine the optimal level of cell growth. PHA
production and cell growth can be increased by using phosphate buffer content.
d) Photobioreactor cultivation
Fermentation can be carried out in bioreactor using batch or fed fetch techniques.
e) Production in industrial scale
In this step, this process upgraded to the industrial level.
f) Extraction and purification
From mass culture, PHB extracted and using boiling chloroform as it is considered as efficient
for extracting polymer materials
g) Final product
Purified PHB was identified and then characterized by using different analytical techniques
Fig: 7 Flow Sheet
17
5.2 Processing conditions [11]
Algae Temp
(o
C)
pH PHB
Content
%
Cultivation
time (days)
Volume
(L)
Spirulina 30 8.5 3-0.7 15 1.8
6 SELECTING LOCATION FOR PLANT [12]
Plant for bioplastic production can be located in semi urban areas in near marketplace or industrial areas
in Pakistan as Jaffar Abad Haripur Bahawalpur ,Bhimber and Gilgit Baltistan. Advantages of building
plants in these areas include less population and low competition with respect to other cities of Pakistan
as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. However in urban cities like Lahore and Karachi there are more
markets to sell your products which provide consistent order and referrals but due to high level of
competition plants owner may need more capital or low prices good services in order to attain public
attention which is not very economical or feasible for a new plants owner that’s why new plant should be
establish in second tiers cities where competition is preferably low.
Comparison of rural and urban area for selection of plant establishment
18
6.1 FACTOR EFFECTING THE PANT ESTABLISHMENT:[13]
 Location, with respect to the marketing area.
 Proximity to raw material.
 proximity to transport facilities.
 Availability of potential buyers for constant referrals and orders.
 Availability of infrastructure:
 Water
 Fuel
 Power
 Light
 Impact on environment
 Waste effluent disposal
 Local community considerations and legislations
 Political, economic, and strategic considerations and impacts.
Fig: 8 Facilities available in units
19
6.2 ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMICAL FACTOR:
In order to establish new unit, we have to consider the potential impact of vast production and use of
bioplastic on the different aspects of natural environment which includes:
 Climate changes
 GHG greenhouse gas emission
 Ocean accumulation
 Disposal of solid waste
 Effect on economy
 Employment chances
 Energy requirements
6.3 WHY TO PREFER BIOPLASTIC UNIT IN PAKISTAN :
The increasing attractiveness for bioplastic from microalgae as replacement of petro-based plastics is all
due to their ability to meet all the factors discuss above. The main reason for high societal, environmental,
and economic interest for establishment of bioplastic production unit are due to these reason:
 There are less restrictions from government sectors as they are not source of any harmful
emissions and also biodegradable
 Micro algae can even grow on wastewater streams doesn’t require any expensive treatment for
their production
 Micro algae bioplastic can promote self-degradation mechanism on waste plastic streams
 Use of renewable resources impose lower dependance of plastic on expensive fossils fuels
 Their high ability to reduce greenhouse gas GHG and excellent carbon fixing effiency
 Due to their ability to reduce GHG emission prove more sustainable industrial production of
plastic
 Offer ore better and recovery and recycling option and treatment because of the biodegradability
and compost ability
 Their potential to increase industrial competitiveness by new innovative and eco efficient
products
 High chances of labour and employments [14]
20
REFRENCES
[1] S. O. Cinar, Z. K. Chong, M. A. Kucuker, N. Wieczorek, U. Cengiz, and K. Kuchta, “Bioplastic
production from microalgae: A review,” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 1–
21, 2020.
[2] W. G. Morais Junior, M. Gorgich, P. S. Corrêa, A. A. Martins, T. M. Mata, and N. S. Caetano,
“Microalgae for biotechnological applications: Cultivation, harvesting and biomass processing,”
Aquaculture, vol. 528, no. January, p. 735562, 2020.
[3] E. Koutra, C. N. Economou, P. Tsafrakidou, and M. Kornaros, “Bio-Based Products from
Microalgae Cultivated in Digestates,” Trends Biotechnol., vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 819–833, 2018.
[4] W. Y. Chia, D. Y. Ying Tang, K. S. Khoo, A. N. Kay Lup, and K. W. Chew, “Nature’s fight
against plastic pollution: Algae for plastic biodegradation and bioplastics production,” Environ.
Sci. Ecotechnology, vol. 4, p. 100065, 2020.
[5] M. Manzoor, F. Tabssum, H. Javaid, and J. I. Qazi, “Lucrative future of microalgal biofuels in
Pakistan: a review,” Int. J. Energy Environ. Eng., vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 393–403, 2015.
[6] A. I. Barros, A. L. Gonçalves, M. Simões, and J. C. M. Pires, “Harvesting techniques applied to
microalgae: A review,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 41, pp. 1489–1500, 2015.
[7] M. I. Khan, J. H. Shin, and J. D. Kim, “The promising future of microalgae: Current status,
challenges, and optimization of a sustainable and renewable industry for biofuels, feed, and other
products,” Microb. Cell Fact., vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 1–21, 2018.
[8] T. Monshupanee, P. Nimdach, and A. Incharoensakdi, “Two-stage (photoautotrophy and
heterotrophy) cultivation enables efficient production of bioplastic poly-3-hydroxybutyrate in
auto-sedimenting cyanobacterium,” Sci. Rep., vol. 6, no. October, pp. 1–9, 2016.
[9] K. G. Satyanarayana, A. B. Mariano, and J. V. C. Vargas, “A review on microalgae , a versatile
source for sustainable energy and materials,” no. March 2010, pp. 291–311, 2011.
[10] C. V. G. Prieto, F. D. Ramos, V. Estrada, M. A. Villar, and S. Diaz, “Optimization of an integrated
algae-based biorefinery for the production of biodiesel, astaxanthin and PHB,” Energy, 2017.
[11] D. Kamravamanesh, M. Lackner, and C. Herwig, “Bioprocess Engineering Aspects of Sustainable
Polyhydroxyalkanoate Production in Cyanobacteria,” pp. 1–18, 2018.
[12] P. Design, General Design Considerations Plant operation and control Plant location Plant
layout Environmental protection Health and safety hazards, vol. 2002. 2012.
[13] “Top 10 Factors Affecting Plant Location – Explained!” .
[14] “An Overview of Pakistan’s Plastics Industry.” .

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Plant Design for bioplastic production from Microalgae in Pakistan.pdf

  • 1. 1 POLYMER AND PROCESS ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT PROCESS PLANT DESIGN Term Project Group-1 Author(s) Names(s) Mian Husnain Iqbal 2017-PE-21 Zumar Ahmad 2017-PE-01 Amin Javaid 2017-PE-02 Amina Amjad 2017-PE-08 Noor Fatima 2017-PE-17 Minahil Mukhtar 2017-PE-43 21ST February , 2021 Email: mianhusnainiqbal281@gmail.com INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Yasir Qayyum Gill
  • 2. 2 Plant Design for bioplastic production from Microalgae in Pakistan
  • 3. 3 Contents 1 Introduction ..........................................................................................................................................4 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................................................5 3 Types of microalgae for potential bioplastic production....................................................................10 3.1 Chlorella......................................................................................................................................10 3.2 Spirulina ......................................................................................................................................10 3.3 Other microalgae species for bioplastic production...................................................................11 3.4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers ..................................................................................................12 4 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN DATA OF MICROALGAE...........................................................................13 4.1 Production of Microalgae: ..........................................................................................................13 4.2 Mass Balance ..............................................................................................................................14 4.3 Energy Balance:...........................................................................................................................15 5 Flow sheet for the production of PHB ................................................................................................15 5.1 Manufacturing process ...............................................................................................................15 5.2 Processing conditions [11]..........................................................................................................17 6 SELECTING LOCATION FOR PLANT [12]...............................................................................................17 6.1 FACTOR EFFECTING THE PANT ESTABLISHMENT:[13] ...............................................................18 6.2 ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMICAL FACTOR:.........................................................................19 6.3 WHY TO PREFER BIOPLASTIC UNIT IN PAKISTAN :......................................................................19
  • 4. 4 1 INTRODUCTION Microalgae is an organism that belongs to the unicellular eukaryotic protists, prokaryotic cyanobacteria, and blue-green algae. It have withdrawn a great attention of industrialists due to its remarkable properties. According to the recent searches microalgae have more than 25.000 forms of species among which 15 has major use as a resource of many industrial products. Many environmental friendly green plant processes have been develope in order to minimize the waste and for energy saving such as Phytoremediation. Which is an excellent recovery system for many resources. Via this process the recovery of microalgae species from aquaculture wastes is done and the microalgae is then used as source of industrial biopolymers having excellent characteristics. Microalgae plays a major role in the bioremediation process of industrial waste including heavy metals, dyes, toxic gases, and petroleum contaminants. Whereas, another specie of microalgae is capable of bioremediating of aquaculture effluents. It converts the inorganic nutrients to “particulate nutrient packs” via photosynthesis reaction and oxidation of ammonia to nitrate which is less toxic in nature. The major importance of microalgae lies in its applications over a wide range of products. The major aquaculture usage of microalgae is that it serves as animal feed worldwide and approximately 30% of the algae are produced to fulfill the need of this area. Microalgae serve as feed for larval fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The aquaculture waste is rich in solid particles and nutrients including phosphorous and nitrogen. It is considered that the removal of nutrients from waste water is a very cost effective and efficient method. Microalgae are widely used commercially as bioactive compounds that serves as a raw material for many commodity and engineering grade products. This is a source of alga Haematococcus pluvialis and the natural source of dyes and many products. biofilters are used to extract nutrients from aquaculture waste that is further used in the cultivation of microalgae which serve as a raw material for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Production of biofuel is also done via the the microalgae because of the oil content and biomass they consist of. This is gaining a huge potential for growth of industrial sector. The most major form of microalgae used in the production of engineering as well as commodity products are Chlorella, Tetraselmis, Scenedesmus, Pavlova, Phaeodactylum, Chaetoceros, Nannochloropsis, Skeletonema and Thalassiosira. They have high growth and are stable against temperature, light and nutrients in hatchery systems. Microalgae consist of a good nutrient composition and absence of toxins t avoid it transfer into the food chain.
  • 5. 5 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Senem Onen at al. in their research study examined the work done by different researchers on the use of microalgal species and their properties and behavior giving a potential pathway of potential bioplastic production. Products with similar properties using biological feedstocks could be obtained instead of using fossil-based resources. But bioplastics derived from terrestrial crops affects the food chain and use large area for the growth of crops that can be utilized for bioplastic production hence not sustainable hence microalgae can be preferred. Two approaches i.e., cultivating pure biopolymer or blending with petroleum-based polymers can be used for bioplastic production. Chlorella vulgaris and Spirulina were the two microalgae identified which can be potentially used for commercial bioplastic production. Spirulina was found to have better blending properties however, chlorella produced better quality products. However, if 6% melic anhydride compatibilizer is used in the concentration mixture, the quality of blending as well as product could be improved. Glycerol is the most commonly used plasticizer in production of microalgae-based biopolymers. The cultivation of microalgae was found to be ambiguous as all the cultivation techniques has its own advantages and disadvantages. Open pound cultivation is considered cheap and of high production capacity as compared to closed one (PBR) but impact of impurities is large. The main cost around 20 to 30% for the bioplastic production comes from harvesting of microalgae. And the methods finally identified for bioplastic production were Melt mixing and Compression molding but there is still need for the development of bioplastic production process from economics point of view to be considered as a hotline for industrial purposes [1]. A study for the use of microalgae in the bioplastic applications has been done by Wilson G. Morais Junior in 2020. He also states the processing techniques for microalgae such as cultivation and harvesting. He analyzes five microalgae related species: Dunaliella, Botryococcus, Chlamydomonas, Chlorella and Arthrospira, viewed as one of the most effective for commercial biological activities. Among the above 5 specie only Chlorella has been using in most of the biological applications. Applications for elevated components and extracts from these five microalgae are portrayed, in specific for the production of pharmaceuticals supplements, pigments and cosmetics [2]. A study for the applications of microalgae in the preparation of biopolymers was performed by Eleni Koutra and Christina N. Economou. A process for the cultivation of microalgae is explained in the research. In cultivation systems, the use of effluents from biogas processing units, called digestates, can help optimize bioprocesses and many bioproducts can be obtained, including biofuels, biofertilizers, proteins and useful chemicals. An impressive area of scientific research, technology and innovation reflects the possible uses and applications of microalgal biomass. It is important to define and manipulate the most critical parameters affecting the target materials, with the goal of increasing efficiency and to reduce production costs [3].
  • 6. 6 Fig: 1 Natural Habitat of Different Microalgae Another study was performed by Wen Yi Chia, Doris Ying Ying Tang to deal with the pollution caused by the plastics by replacing it with the bioplastics formed by micro algae. This review provides new insights into various methods of producing bioplastics based on algae (e.g. mixing with other materials and genetic engineering), followed by a discussion of challenges and further research directions to increase their commercial feasibility. Research on algae-based bioplastics is still in the stage of experimentation or infancy and cannot be marketed on an industrial scale, which makes it necessary to advance technology and continuous R&D in bioplastics. In the near future, a large portion of bioplastics can be sustainably generated from algae biomass by further exploring the algal role in bioplastic degradation [4]. Maleeka Manzoor et al. worked on the production of the microalgae as a feed stock for certain other green uses i.e. biodiesel. They manifested that the micro algae growth is nourished in the presence of the favorable temperatures, solar light, and nitrogen opulent. The cultivation of microalgae is not suitable at plowable land. Hence, they devised a new approach for algae development by inhouse algae manufacturing by industrial waste known as In situ microalgal cultivation. According to this approach it should be compulsory for the industries to create microalgal production ponds and hence they become the source of this basic raw material and more over their wastewater treatment cost reduces and become profitable. They devised different routes to produce microalgae [5].
  • 7. 7 Fig: 2 Processing of Microalgae This article covers the most effective methods of harvesting microalgae from its culture. There is no specific method for the recovery of microalgae that could be considered as standard method. Method designs are variable according to the cell morphology, size and other structural properties of the culture whereas, the end application and quality of product is also kept under consideration. To get better recovery of microalgae from its culture composite methods are used to harvest it which includes thickening and dewatering. By considering the end use application and further processing and properties of microalgae bioflocculation followed by gravity
  • 8. 8 sedimentation was found to be the most efficient and economically viable method for recovery of microalgea. The chances of contamination in case of bioflocculation are the major concern of engineering products and high quality products. In order to avoid the presence of toxic chemical coagulants in microalgea the electrical methods are found to be the safest route. Using microalgea in green process is still a very expensive method the major cause of this is the cost of the harvesting of the specie from its culture. Each method used to recover microalgea from biomass has its own cons and pros whereas; the selection is done on the basis of nature of culture medium and characteristics of target product [6]. Microalgae are gaining a huge attention of nutraceutical and biopharmaceutical industries as a source of renewable and sustainable bio-fuels and bioactive medical products. The remarkable biological and pharmaceutical properties have made it a potential species to be researched. The environmental friendly and economical biofuel is replacing the fossil fuels burning. Microalgae have a potential to generate carbohydrates, lipids, and other bioactive metabolites via using the atmospheric CO2. Major challenges in this regards are the up-gradation of the technique from lab scale to industrial scale. Whereas, the major concern in upgrading this production to industrial scale is growth rate of microalgae, synthesis of microalgae, pretreatment, fermentation and optimization of production of algal bioethanol [7]. This article explains the culturing parameters and cons and pros of different methods of production of various bioactive compounds via the waste water treatment plant. As shown in the figure below: Fig: 3
  • 10. 10 3 Types of microalgae for potential bioplastic production Commonly used microalgae species, additives or chemicals utilized in bioplastic production are explained below [1]: 3.1 Chlorella Chlorella is a genus of green algae, found in freshwater containing about 58% (by weight) protein. Its dense cells wall and higher thermal stability provides higher crack resistance. Higher product quality can be achieved using Chlorella as compared to other common microalgal species as verified by conducted different tests. However, it has not good compatibility with other polymers if blending is to be done. Some compatibilizer has to be used for blending chlorella with polymer to produce bioplastic. Different studies are present on the use of Chlorella microalgae as summarized below in the table. Table 1: Summary of conducted studies for Chlorella[1] 3.2 Spirulina Spirulina, has been used in the food industry for many years as a protein source, as it is known for its potential to adapt to extreme environments. Spirulina platensis contains a high concentration (60% by weight) of protein. Spirulina has a small cell size as same as in Chlorella which making them attractive for bioplastic blend production. But still, both show different behaviors and bioplastic properties e.g., while blending with PE due to their varying amino acid
  • 11. 11 contents entirely different set of properties is obtained. The use of spirulina is also summarized in the table below Table 2: Summary of conducted studies for Spirulina[1] Chlorella Spirulina 3.3 Other microalgae species for bioplastic production Most of the research has been focused on the above two mentioned microalgae when it comes to the production of bioplastics from it. But there are some other microalgal species as well which has shown potential to be used for the production of high-quality bioplastic which can be used as alternatives of petroleum-based commodity polymers. They are also listed below in the table.
  • 12. 12 Table 3: Other microalgae species for bioplastic production [1] Here, the PHB bioplastics are of the most importance. According to Monshupanee et al.[8] who studied intracellular production of PHB using microalgae, PHB (polyhydroxy butyrate) accumulation during the production process can be optimized using the amount of acetate supply, varying light and nutrient conditions. Optimum production rates could be obtained by implementing heterotrophy in the dark. PHB levels of 10.6% to 17% of dry weight can be obtained respectively from Chlorella fritschii and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Calothrix scytonemicola, Scenedesmus almeriensis, and Neochloris oleobundans are also suitable for intracellular biopolymer production since they are either starch or PHA rich microalgae species. 3.4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers Plasticizers are used to improve the processibility and flexibility of a material when mixed with it. The most commonly used plasticizer for the production of bioplastic is Glycerol (C3H8O3). The presence of glycerol, for the degradation process, improves the availability of the macromolecules, it also increases the extensibility and flexibility as well as it leads to phase rich products and improved elongation and is confirmed by different studies.[1] On the other hand, compatibilizers, when blending biomaterial with polymer, attach their one end with the concerned polymer and other end with the microalgae specie, is used to bind them together in order to improve their mechanical strength. Different blend use different compatibilizers such as such as maleic anhydride, poly(ethylene-co-glycidyl) meth acryloyl carbamate, grafted ethylene/propylene rubber and diethyl succinate. These compatibilizers are
  • 13. 13 initiated by using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and potassium peroxide sulfate (KPS) initiators to facilitate compatibilization. Table 4 Plasticizers and compatibilizers[1] 4 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN DATA OF MICROALGAE 4.1 Production of Microalgae: Microalgae exist in various atmospheres and many species endure high concentrations of salts which allow the use of any type of water for the cultivation medium. Microalgae may be cultivated by two types of systems, such as:  Open system  Closed system The classical cultivation of microalgae designed to generate biomass for human consumption and aquaculture is the use of reservoirs or ponds. This type of reactor, called Raceway ponds, is usually open to ponds and lakes or channel type systems. Manufacturing through ponds involves large areas amidst being inexpensive, since it uses very low levels of air CO2 and thus pollutes other organisms like mushrooms, bacteria and protozoa. They also exhibit lower photosynthetic efficiency owing to reduced CO2 and sunlight available only on the pond surface. So, closed systems are preferred in the industry like photo-bioreactor [9]. Fig: 5 (Open System)
  • 14. 14 Photo-bioreactors not only have higher photosynthetic productivity, but also control of the temperature of the culture medium, since temperatures normally rise with sunlight exposure and allow external pollutants control. The choice of the most appropriate system is dependent on the situation, indicated by both the algae species accessible and the final intended target. The need for precise measure inhibits any use of open-systems, so the attention turned mostly to closed systems. The purpose of the photobioreactor photosynthetic process of production of microalgae biomass is to reduce overall input energy and reach high photosynthetic output. These closed photo-bioreactors may be located inside or outside, although outdoor locations are more standard due to the ease of use of free sunlight [9]. Fig: 6 (Closed System) The comparison between the open and closed system for the production of microalgae is given in the table below. [9] 4.2 Mass Balance The MINLP model with nonlinear and non-convex limitations is developed and resolved using the BARON54 global optimization solver to optimize the integrated plant design for the production of PHB [10]. Table: 1 (Comparison between Open and Closed Systems)
  • 15. 15 Where; fθ r,j: Mass flowrate of component j from θ to outlet stream r [kg j/day] fk θ,j: Mass flowrate of component j from inlet stream k to unit θ [kg j/day] ξj,sh: Stoichiometric coefficient between component j and component sh [kmol j/kmol sh] sh: Limiting reactant for reaction for h Mj: Molecular weight of component j [kg j/kmol j] Msh: Molecular weight of component sh [kg sh /kmol sh] Csh: Limiting reactant conversion for reaction h fk θ,sh: Mass flow rate of component sh from inlet stream k to unit θ [kg sh/day] 4.3 Energy Balance: Where ECθ corresponds to energy consumption in unit θ in kWh/day, ECRθ is energy consumption ratio per unit of mass flow rate relative to unit θ, in kWh/ kg, and mθ is the mass flow rate relative to unit θ in kg/day. Decanters used for PHB extraction are considered as gravity separators; hence no power requirements are computed for them [10]. 5 Flow sheet for the production of PHB A belongs to a group of biopolymers produced from microorganisms. The most studied bio- degradable polymer is poly hydroxy butyrate (PHB). It has high crystallinity and properties like polyolefins. There is a flow sheet represent the processing for its production [11]. This is the lab scale process but we can scale it up by  Using inexpensive substrate  Optimizing process parameters  By proper designing of bioreactor system  Past data and modern mathematical models for monitoring and control.  Modern technology for PHB recovery with minimum cost. 5.1 Manufacturing process Manufacturing process consist of the following steps
  • 16. 16 a) Metabolic Engineering In this step, modification in the cellular structure of the micro-organism takes place for the production of specific compound. This process decrease cost, increase yield and efficiency. b) Strain screening and selection Isolation shows potential for PHB production used to detect the presence of PHB granules within the cells of algae. c) Optimization of media process parameters Systematic mixture analysis can be used to determine the optimal level of cell growth. PHA production and cell growth can be increased by using phosphate buffer content. d) Photobioreactor cultivation Fermentation can be carried out in bioreactor using batch or fed fetch techniques. e) Production in industrial scale In this step, this process upgraded to the industrial level. f) Extraction and purification From mass culture, PHB extracted and using boiling chloroform as it is considered as efficient for extracting polymer materials g) Final product Purified PHB was identified and then characterized by using different analytical techniques Fig: 7 Flow Sheet
  • 17. 17 5.2 Processing conditions [11] Algae Temp (o C) pH PHB Content % Cultivation time (days) Volume (L) Spirulina 30 8.5 3-0.7 15 1.8 6 SELECTING LOCATION FOR PLANT [12] Plant for bioplastic production can be located in semi urban areas in near marketplace or industrial areas in Pakistan as Jaffar Abad Haripur Bahawalpur ,Bhimber and Gilgit Baltistan. Advantages of building plants in these areas include less population and low competition with respect to other cities of Pakistan as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. However in urban cities like Lahore and Karachi there are more markets to sell your products which provide consistent order and referrals but due to high level of competition plants owner may need more capital or low prices good services in order to attain public attention which is not very economical or feasible for a new plants owner that’s why new plant should be establish in second tiers cities where competition is preferably low. Comparison of rural and urban area for selection of plant establishment
  • 18. 18 6.1 FACTOR EFFECTING THE PANT ESTABLISHMENT:[13]  Location, with respect to the marketing area.  Proximity to raw material.  proximity to transport facilities.  Availability of potential buyers for constant referrals and orders.  Availability of infrastructure:  Water  Fuel  Power  Light  Impact on environment  Waste effluent disposal  Local community considerations and legislations  Political, economic, and strategic considerations and impacts. Fig: 8 Facilities available in units
  • 19. 19 6.2 ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMICAL FACTOR: In order to establish new unit, we have to consider the potential impact of vast production and use of bioplastic on the different aspects of natural environment which includes:  Climate changes  GHG greenhouse gas emission  Ocean accumulation  Disposal of solid waste  Effect on economy  Employment chances  Energy requirements 6.3 WHY TO PREFER BIOPLASTIC UNIT IN PAKISTAN : The increasing attractiveness for bioplastic from microalgae as replacement of petro-based plastics is all due to their ability to meet all the factors discuss above. The main reason for high societal, environmental, and economic interest for establishment of bioplastic production unit are due to these reason:  There are less restrictions from government sectors as they are not source of any harmful emissions and also biodegradable  Micro algae can even grow on wastewater streams doesn’t require any expensive treatment for their production  Micro algae bioplastic can promote self-degradation mechanism on waste plastic streams  Use of renewable resources impose lower dependance of plastic on expensive fossils fuels  Their high ability to reduce greenhouse gas GHG and excellent carbon fixing effiency  Due to their ability to reduce GHG emission prove more sustainable industrial production of plastic  Offer ore better and recovery and recycling option and treatment because of the biodegradability and compost ability  Their potential to increase industrial competitiveness by new innovative and eco efficient products  High chances of labour and employments [14]
  • 20. 20 REFRENCES [1] S. O. Cinar, Z. K. Chong, M. A. Kucuker, N. Wieczorek, U. Cengiz, and K. Kuchta, “Bioplastic production from microalgae: A review,” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 1– 21, 2020. [2] W. G. Morais Junior, M. Gorgich, P. S. Corrêa, A. A. Martins, T. M. Mata, and N. S. Caetano, “Microalgae for biotechnological applications: Cultivation, harvesting and biomass processing,” Aquaculture, vol. 528, no. January, p. 735562, 2020. [3] E. Koutra, C. N. Economou, P. Tsafrakidou, and M. Kornaros, “Bio-Based Products from Microalgae Cultivated in Digestates,” Trends Biotechnol., vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 819–833, 2018. [4] W. Y. Chia, D. Y. Ying Tang, K. S. Khoo, A. N. Kay Lup, and K. W. Chew, “Nature’s fight against plastic pollution: Algae for plastic biodegradation and bioplastics production,” Environ. Sci. Ecotechnology, vol. 4, p. 100065, 2020. [5] M. Manzoor, F. Tabssum, H. Javaid, and J. I. Qazi, “Lucrative future of microalgal biofuels in Pakistan: a review,” Int. J. Energy Environ. Eng., vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 393–403, 2015. [6] A. I. Barros, A. L. Gonçalves, M. Simões, and J. C. M. Pires, “Harvesting techniques applied to microalgae: A review,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 41, pp. 1489–1500, 2015. [7] M. I. Khan, J. H. Shin, and J. D. Kim, “The promising future of microalgae: Current status, challenges, and optimization of a sustainable and renewable industry for biofuels, feed, and other products,” Microb. Cell Fact., vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 1–21, 2018. [8] T. Monshupanee, P. Nimdach, and A. Incharoensakdi, “Two-stage (photoautotrophy and heterotrophy) cultivation enables efficient production of bioplastic poly-3-hydroxybutyrate in auto-sedimenting cyanobacterium,” Sci. Rep., vol. 6, no. October, pp. 1–9, 2016. [9] K. G. Satyanarayana, A. B. Mariano, and J. V. C. Vargas, “A review on microalgae , a versatile source for sustainable energy and materials,” no. March 2010, pp. 291–311, 2011. [10] C. V. G. Prieto, F. D. Ramos, V. Estrada, M. A. Villar, and S. Diaz, “Optimization of an integrated algae-based biorefinery for the production of biodiesel, astaxanthin and PHB,” Energy, 2017. [11] D. Kamravamanesh, M. Lackner, and C. Herwig, “Bioprocess Engineering Aspects of Sustainable Polyhydroxyalkanoate Production in Cyanobacteria,” pp. 1–18, 2018. [12] P. Design, General Design Considerations Plant operation and control Plant location Plant layout Environmental protection Health and safety hazards, vol. 2002. 2012. [13] “Top 10 Factors Affecting Plant Location – Explained!” . [14] “An Overview of Pakistan’s Plastics Industry.” .