The European Energetic Algae project explores the potential of algae as an energy source. Its half a million euros Algal Innovation Center in Cambridge will soon scale up the research.

The Energetic Algae project, shortly EnAlgae, aims to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by developing biofuel technologies based on algae.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the petrol or diesel that you put in your car comes from crude oil, that is actually fossilized algae”, sais Algal researcher Adam Powell from the Swanson University. “The algae has been under the ground for million of years, where high temperatures and pressure have created crude oil.” And that’s what his project aims to achieve too, but with pressing those millions of years into a couple of weeks.

This is one of several approaches, which EnAlgae wants to explore to gain algal-based bioenergy. To overcome cost and access barriers, it is currently building an integrated network of algal-exploring plants across North West Europe.

One of these is the Algal Innovation Center, located within the botanic garden at Cambridge University. It will connect the entire pipeline of algal research from strain selection to development of engineering solutions. EnAlgae just announced that its establishment is advancing well and the completion is expected to be in October.

“Once complete we expect the facility to come into full operational use by November 2015″,  stated Dr Matt Davey, who is overseeing the project. “One of the first experiments that will be carried out here will be to assess how well algae will grow on wastewater nutrients at a much larger scale than we currently have set up. The algae can then be used for anaerobic digestion to produce electricity.”

Besides the UK, the project connects six other European states to jointly develop renewable energy. For more information of the project, watch EnAlgae’s video here.

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