European partnership to unlock the potential of algae bioenergy
A number of leading European organisations – including the NNFCC – are about to embark on a four and a half year project called Energetic Algae (EnAlgae), to 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 the crucial information needed to assess the productivity of algae production.
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 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. Much of the focus so far has been on the production of algae in more favourable climates, such as the US, but there is a distinct lack of information about how algae grow at scale in more challenging climates," says algae lead at the NNFCC, Dr Claire Smith.
"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,"
"Thanks to close transnational cooperation, EnAlgae partners and stakeholders will gain access to those sustainable technologies most suited to their local operating conditions."
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.