Cultivating micro-algae is far from new technology, dating back to the mid-20th century. In fact, all the methodologies we currently use can be traced back to these early attempts, even including shallow raceways and enclosed photobioreactors.
While the basic principles are well established, wide-scale commercial exploitation of microalgae remains just out of reach, with the exception of a few niche markets. Thanks to recent advances in bioprocess engineering however, and a better understanding of how microalgae work, it is now possible to exploit microalgae to their full potential in processing biodegradable waste.
Exciting advances in bioenergy production, and with it investment, are being made all over the world.
Cultivating microalgae as a source of biofuels is an exciting concept, especially as they do not directly compete with traditional crop-based commodities and are typically grown in non-arable land areas.
Potential biofuels from microalgae include:
- Direct combustion
- Alkanes or "green diesel,"
- Biodiesel alcohols (ethanol)
Some microalgae species contain a much higher percentage of extractable oil than other oil crops – over 50% compared to, for example, just 25% from rapeseed.
Algae provides a set of rich opportunities to explore the production of high value chemicals which can be used to replace plastics and other fossil fuel based products. In some cases algae technology can be used to replace other difficult to source materials such as rare substances only found in endangered species.
We welcome collaboration opportunities with academia, government bodies and industry from around the world.
To contact us, email the EBRI Business Support Team, visit Bioenergy for Business or call us on 0121 204 3383.
Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)