"The concept of "sustainable development" has been gradually developed and refined, reflecting the vision of all humanity for harmonious economic, environmental, and social development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", which clearly sets out 17 goals for global sustainable development (SDGs) by 2030.
In our projects, we keep in mind the concept of "sustainability" and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by proposing new solutions to the higher cost of biodiesel. These 17 Sustainable Development Goals are interrelated and interdependent, with the achievement of one goal contributing to the development of the others in a better direction. Through our projects, we directly contribute to Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8), Industry Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG9), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11), Responsible consumption and Production (SDG12), Climate Action (SDG13), and Life Below Water (SDG14).
Fig 1 Main SDGs contributed to by CHINA-FAFU

Affordable and Clean Energy

Global climate change poses a huge challenge to the economic resilience, energy security and energy sustainability of countries. It has become an important approach for most countries around the world to maintain inclusive growth by gradually moving their energy industries toward a net-zero emission environment-friendly economy. Clean energy is a technological system for clean, efficient and systematic application of energy, with an emphasis on low carbon emissions cleanliness and economy. While energy development is the largest contributor to economic growth, carbon dioxide and harmful gases released from the combustion of traditional fossil energy sources are the biggest contributors to climate change and damage to the environment and human health. The engineered algae strains in our project are designed with a focus on "Affordable and Clean Energy" as a development goal, and are characterized by high oil content, high biomass, and high photosynthetic efficiency. This will promote the widespread use of biomass energy and biodiesel.

I.Provide support to drive down the cost of biodiesel production

At present, biodiesel, a mainstream clean energy source, not only has excellent environmental characteristics and fuel performance, but also has renewable properties, and has become the main direction of future energy development. However, the commercial application of microalgal biodiesel is often hindered by its high production cost. The culture method as well as the engineered algae strain designed in our project, with the idea of enhancing biomass as well as single-cell oil content, combined with laboratory models and practical applications in cooperative plants, provide support for further reduction of biodiesel production costs.

II.Support for the improvement of the economic applicability of microalgae biodiesel

Microalgae bio-based products have very many commercial applications in current commodity markets, such as nutritional products and fine chemicals, but the scale of application in these markets is still limited. In order to play a more important role in sustainable development, the cost of microalgae as feedstock needs to be further reduced.
In our project, in order to enhance the sustainability performance of the engineered algae strain with high lipid content, we tried to change its lipid composition so that its polyunsaturated fatty acid content was enhanced; secondly, while enhancing its photosynthetic efficiency, we also enhanced its fucoxanthin content. Such an enhancement makes the engineered algae strain as a commercial production of EPA and fucoxanthin as a feedstock at a lower cost, which is similar to the idea of reducing the cost of biodiesel production. This allows the production of biodiesel from microalgae in combination with the plant's corresponding technologies, such as CO2 supercritical extraction, which can make it possible to obtain biodiesel along with other by-products, further enhancing the economic applicability of microalgae biodiesel.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

In order to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full employment, opportunities for decent work for all, fair income and equal job opportunities, our microalgae plant site selection model and plant cost target planning model are fully focused on the "Decent Work and Economic Growth Our microalgae plant site selection model and plant cost target planning model focus on the development goal of "Decent Work and Economic Growth".

I.Provide more employment opportunities

As a new industry with strong innovation and creativity, microalgae factories are hit fatally by the COVID-19, which is hitting small and medium-sized enterprises, informally employed workers, self-employed workers, daily wage workers, and workers in sectors such as the microalgae factory, which are meeting the recruitment needs of microalgae factories. Our microalgae factory cost model takes full account of labor costs and is able to provide employment opportunities for more workers while maximizing the benefits of the factory.

II.Provide assistance and support

When using our model for siting microalgae plants, we are able to give full consideration to provinces with low human development indices and inject fresh blood into more underdeveloped provinces. In the future, our model can expand the scope of plant site selection globally, increasing assistance and support to developing countries, especially the least developed countries.

Industry Innovation and Infrastructure

The development of infrastructure, such as energy, is critical to achieving sustainable development and promoting the development of many national communities. History shows that investments in facilities are essential for productivity and income growth, human health and education. Our team's project is designed with the development goal of "Industry Innovation and Infrastructure" in mind, promoting innovation and industrial upgrading of microalgae in the energy industry, as well as in health care and fine chemicals.

Providing support for innovation and upgrading of the microalgae

Microalgae are rich in oil and nutrients and can be developed not only for biodiesel production, but also for high quality food products such as health products, etc., providing innovative power for the development of energy and food industries and forming sustainable industries.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Currently, the increasing amount of wastewater discharge is an environmental issue of great concern. The algae strains designed for our project are fully focused on the development goal of "Sustainable Cities and Communities", and the microalgae have the characteristics of fast growth and reproduction, high photosynthetic efficiency, and can effectively remove pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, metal ions and toxic substances from wastewater. It is a promising means of wastewater treatment for many types of wastewater, such as municipal wastewater, breeding wastewater and industrial wastewater.

I.Treating wastewater and helping to make it carbon neutral

In the siting model of the microalgae plant, we set the indicator of "wastewater volume", so that the plant can be located in a province with a high volume of wastewater discharge as much as possible, creating jobs in the province while effectively treating municipal wastewater, and making the carbon emissions of the wastewater treatment process much lower, contributing to urban wastewater use, oxygen production and sustainable development. We will contribute to the sustainable development of wastewater use, oxygen production and employment in the city.

II.Reducing costs and developing new energy sources

Optimizing the location of microalgae production can effectively reduce the total cost of plant production, provide some support for the economic feasibility of microalgae production of biodiesel, thus making mass production of biodiesel more feasible, reducing the pressure of non-renewable resource consumption, decoupling economic growth and environmental degradation, and solving the problems of land scarcity and resource scarcity.

Responsible consumption and Production

Currently, we are consuming 1.7 times more resources than the Earth can replenish. We need to change our current consumption and production methods or we will cause irreversible damage to the planet and human livelihoods. Our team's project was designed with the development goal of "Responsible Consumption and Production" in mind, providing an alternative renewable source of feedstock for biodiesel producers.

I.Providing support for responsible consumption and production of biodiesel

There are many sources of biodiesel as a biomass energy source, and using microalgae as a raw material for production has unparalleled superiority. At the same time, microalgae, as the main force of carbon sequestration in carbon neutrality, is one of the important supports to achieve zero carbon economy. Our team has designed an engineered strain of microalgae that has significantly improved lipid content and photosynthetic efficiency compared to wild-type microalgae. At the same time, microalgae are easy to cultivate and renewable, which are also found in engineered algae strains. This also means that biodiesel production from microalgae can effectively alleviate the current shortage of fossil fuels and provide support for sustainable development in biodiesel consumption and production.

Climate Action

Climate change is affecting every country in the world, not only disrupting national economies and affecting normal life, but also costing people, communities and countries a great deal more than just the present and likely into the future. The engineered algae strains in our project have been designed with the development goal of "Climate Action" in mind, and by improving the photosynthetic carbon sequestration efficiency of the algae strains, we are responding to the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global temperature increases to 2°C.

I.Support for BECCS technology to achieve carbon neutrality

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology, an important component of CCUS technology, grows in importance over time in the IEA sustainability scenarios, with carbon capture increasing 85% in Phase III (2050-2070) over the previous phase, 45% of which comes from BECCS.

We have designed engineered algal strains with high photosynthetic efficiency, which also means that our strains can absorb more CO2 in the same amount of time. At the same time, the high unsaturated fatty acid content of the engineered algae strain makes it easier to produce biodiesel on an industrial scale, while the cost can be appropriately reduced.

Life Below Water

I.Provide support for further use of marine resources

The SDG14 sustainability goal is at the core of our project, using marine resources for sustainable development. We use marine microalgae to increase their carbon sequestration, enhance oil and fucoxanthin content, and contribute to carbon neutrality to combat climate change, ultimately contributing to global ecosystem stability and halting biodiversity loss; generate and consume affordable, sustainable and clean energy; increase employment and balance economic development, and promote clean water for urban and community development.

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