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Europe | European & international partnerships | Microalgae | Biomass

Algae for a biomass applied to the production of added value compounds


ABACUS, coordinated by CEA Cadarache, aims to develop a business- and technology-driven algae biorefinery, bringing innovative, high-value-added algae-based ingredients (terpenes and terpenoids) to market. 

H2020 funding: RIA (Research and Innovation Actions)

H2020-BBI-JTI-2016  Bio-based Industries Joint Technology Initiative (BBI-JTI)

Published on 1 May 2017


ABACUS gathers 2 large industries, 3 algae SMEs and 4 RTOs (Organization for Research and Technology, including the CEA). It aims at a business-oriented and technology-driven development of a new algal biorefinery, thereby bringing to the market innovative algae-based ingredients for high-end applications, spanning from algal terpenes for fragrances to long-chain terpenoids (carotenoids) for nutraceuticals and cosmetic actives. One key objective of ABACUS is to obtain more than 10% photosynthates of targeted terpenoids. For this purpose, ABACUS selects and optimizes unique algae strains from 4 large culture collections owned by project’s partners. Moreover, ABACUS focuses on optimizing cultivation steps and mastering production of target products by online monitoring and automated control of photobioreactors with the development of specific sensors for terpenes and for the parameters relevant to terpene’s production (light, PO2, PCO2, nutrients). ABACUS investigates the fractionation steps to provide green low-cost downstream processing with a view to reduce operational expenses of the whole production line. Life cycle analysis and techno-economic analysis are fundamental guidelines of ABACUS’s developments to ensure that technologies and products are economically and environmentally sustainable. Applicability of targeted ingredients is assessed by the industrial partners (SMEs and large industries with established access to markets) considering cosmetic and nutraceutical applications. ABACUS aims to demonstrate biorefining processes allowing valorizing up to 95% of the algal biomass into high value ingredients and by-products. EU standards and market regulations associated to innovative bioprocesses and new ingredients are reviewed in order to demonstrate the acceptability of the ABACUS biorefinery. ABACUS key advantage lies in its business-oriented workplan, gathering key players along the whole product development chain and incorporating most-advanced technologies for efficient growth and fractionation of microalgae.

Project duration
3.3 years
5.1 millions €

​Number of partners

Starting date
May 01, 2017

Coordinator : CEA Cadarache   

Contact Joliot Institute: Franck Chauvat        


Agreement id : 745668


The Bio-based Industries Joint Technology Initiative is a public-private partnership between the European Commission and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). The objective is to develop new bio-refinery technologies and sustainably transform renewable natural resources into bio-based products, materials and fuels.

The industry members, represented by a non-profit organization - the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) - cover the entire bio-based industry value chain and consist of large industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regional clusters, European trade associations and European technology platforms. The main objective of BIC is to ensure and promote the technological and economic development of bio-industries in Europe.