EnAlgae - € 14 million for energy from algae in Europe

The name EnAlgae is a combination of "Energetic Algae". EnAlgae thus stands for the content of the recently closed project for the research and market introduction of energy from algae in northwestern Europe. EnAlgae is funded for a period of 4 years (2011-2015) with a total of 14.4 million euros via the INTERREG IVB North West Europe (NWE) program. Which framework conditions characterize the project?
Algae have long been an important source of hope for the further development of renewable bioenergy and are a raw material for biogas and Biofuel production in conversation. In this context, we often speak of the “3rd generation feedstock”. Already in 1933, Hans Gaffron was the first scientist to use the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to produce the biohydrogen.

Since these beginnings, numerous advances have been made in algae research and cultivation. The first plants worldwide for the large-scale cultivation of microalgae and macroalgae and for the production of Energy from algae.

EnAlgae's strengths and goals

The high population density and the pronounced degree of industrialization in northwestern Europe mean advantages and disadvantages. A dense network of research institutes and highly qualified personnel on the one hand and a high energy requirement on the other hand offer opportunities and conflicts for the further development of the countries of Northwest Europe.

An essential approach of EnAlgae project is to take advantage of the region's available benefits and mitigate the disadvantages. The project for the energetic use of algae has three main objectives:

  • Obtaining a better understanding of algae cultivation
  • Generation of regenerative bioenergy
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

The 19 sub-projects in the 7 member states include the stages of product development, operation of pilot projects and support for market launch. Above all, the synergies in the area of ​​know-how and finance are to be used, which are available through the bundling of different institutes in a small space.

Another advantage is the better coordination of the different approaches to algae research. Duplicate research on identical topics should be avoided. In addition, through a targeted consultation in the field of algae cultivation, Europe is better positioned in international competition with countries such as the USA, China or Australia.

The presence of 9 pilot plants for algae cultivation within the EnAlgae partners is another strength. This constellation allows a broad research of the aquatic plants under different conditions at several locations at the same time.

EnAlgae participants from Germany

In Germany there are various locations where the cultivation of algae is tested or is already being carried out on a larger scale. The largest and best known algae farm in Germany or even Europe is certainly Algomed in Klötze. Microalgae (Chlorella, Aphanizomeon, Spirulina) for food or food supplements are grown at the site in Saxony-Anhalt. See also the article on Algae cultivation in Germany.

From a German perspective, three institutions are directly involved in EnAlgae.

Further information on EnAlgae can be found on the websites of the German partners in the algae project for Northwest Europe. The link provided in the list leads directly to the press releases.

I am surprised that the comparatively strong Algae cluster in Berlin-Brandenburg is not represented in Germany with a position. Maybe I'm too local patriotic at this point.

I am excited to see which organisms and research focuses will emerge and hope that EnAlgae will help make a breakthrough in the use of algae in Europe.

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