The EnAlgae Project


Green fuel for the future

The challenge

As fossil fuel resources continue to decline around the globe, it is vital that new sources of fuel are identified and developed. In North-West Europe, the climate is propitious for the growth of algae.

One of the benefits of algae is that its carbon footprint is neutral because of how the photosynthesis process transforms CO2. Algae is hardly produced in the region, but it could prove to be of very interesting economic value. What is needed is to identify the most appropriate growing and transformation practices, and to be able to capitalise on this resource in the future.

The project in brief

In response to this development, the project EnAlgae brought together 19 partners and 14 observers from 7 European countries, whose common goal was to reduce CO2 emissions and fossil fuel dependence in the region using micro and macro-algae. Their goals were threefold:

  • Develop a network of pilots and demonstration sites, and identify strategic factors for optimising algae cultivation.
  • Undertake a feasibility analysis to determine if algae can be of added value to North-West Europe.
  • Identify the political, economic, social and technological opportunities and barriers for producing energy from algae.

Academic, business and research centres worked to grow, harvest, and process algae, in order to turn it into biomass and bio fuels. Together, they contributed key research, best practices, and new results in viable algal technologies. This in turn created essential networks, supported the algae sector in Europe, and contributed to creating a viable marketplace for this important resource.

The Swansea University pilot has provided opportunities to facilitate algal R&D into the future.

Dr. Alla Silkina, 'Report Card 2015'

The impact

One of the biggest successes for the EnAlgae project was the development of an integrated network of algal pilot plants across North West Europe. By combining resources and expertise, this project made the algal bioenergy research fields more coordinated, resulting in increased standardisation and a building block towards creating a viable marketplace.

For example, information from the network of pilot and demonstration sites is now used to understand the technological requirements and the economic and environmental aspects of growing algal biomass and converting it to bioenergy in the region. To continue this increase of capacity, they also developed the Algal Information network (AIN), which has remained in place past the completion of the EnAlgae project and supports current micro and macro-algal research.

Additionally, after identifying economic opportunities for producing energy from algae, 3 microalgae business economic models were developed, making it easier for future pilots to be launched, and increasing the resources available for new facilities.

 

3

Number of microalgae business economic models that were developed

6

Microalgal pilot plants facilities that established SOPs (standard operation procedures)

Major legacy products of EnAlgae will do much to further the continued expansion of European algal industries.

Professor Kevin Flynn, EnAlgae Project Director

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