The Buzz

European Partnership to Study Algal Bioenergy

September 7, 2011

Anew €14 million ($19.7million USD) initiative is bringing together experts from across North West Europe to develop the potential of algae as a source of sustainable energy. The four and a half year project, called Energetic Algae (EnAlgae), will address the current lack of information on macro- and microalgal productivity in North West Europe.

EnAlgae will establish a series of pilot scale seaweed farms and microalgae growth facilities in the region to provide information needed to assess the productivity of algae cultivation. This information will be used to better understand the economics and greenhouse gas balances of making fuel, energy and other products from algae in North West Europe. Another output will be a computer-based tool to inform decision makers about how and where algae could be grown in the region.

“Algae offers significant potential for the sustainable production of energy and fuels,” says Dr. Claire Smith, algae lead at the NNFCC, the United Kingdom’s National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials. “Much of the focus so far has been on the production of algae in more favorable climates, such as the US, but there is a distinct lack of information about how algae grow at scale in more challenging climates. The EnAlgae project will allow us to look seriously at the potential of algae for the UK and the NNFCC are delighted to offer our expertise in developing markets for sustainable algal bioenergy production.”

The project’s manager, Dr. Robin Shields, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research at Swansea University, said “Algal bioenergy has been identified as a strategic priority by the INTERREG IVB NWE programme. The EnAlgae expert partnership has been formed to develop and implement technologies tailored to the unique socio-economic and environmental conditions of North West Europe.”

EnAlgae is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund by the North West Europe INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund, together with a range of co-sponsors.

The EnAlgae partnership is comprised of:

  • Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), UK (Lead Partner)
  • European Biomass Industry Association (BE)
  • Ghent University (BE)
  • Laborelec Ltd (GDF-SUEZ) (BE)
  • Flanders Marine (BE)
  • University College West Flanders (BE)
  • Agency for Renewable Resources (DE)
  • HTW University of Applied Sciences (DE)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (DE)
  • Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues (FR)
  • National University of Ireland Dublin, University College Dublin (IE)
  • National University of Ireland, Galway (IE)
  • Wageningen UR (including Plant Research International) / ACRRES (NL)
  • Birmingham City University (UK)
  • InCrops Enterprise Hub (UK)
  • National Non-Food Crops Centre (UK)
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK)
  • Queen’s University Belfast (UK)
  • The Scottish Association for Marine Science (UK)

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