Renewable energy from microalgae

University of Vaasa and Vaasa Energy Institution (VEI) welcomed visitors from Chinese Academy of Sciences. Agenda was to find out joint research projects for the future. Professor Zhongming Wang, Dr. Shunni Zhu and Dr. Pingzhong Feng presented research facilities of… renewable energy in China and in their own institute, Guanzhou Institute of Energy Conversion (GIEC).

  • Our institute is concentrated to solar energy, biogas, geothermal energy as well as biomass gasification and wave power generation, Dr. Shunni tells.

GIEC was founded in 1978 and today has almost 400 employees. It has several R&D platforms for renewable energy. One of these is the center that deals with biomass energy. Biomass resources are agricultural and forest waste, organic waste, energy plants and algae.

  • Electricity and heat, pellets, gas and liquid fuel are the results of the biomass processing.

Dr. Feng demonstrated the cultivation process of algae. There are more than 40 000 algae species, but not all of them are suitable for biofuels production.

  • The first step is to select the microalgae. Then follows the regulation of lipid accumulation, wastewater treatment, algal lipid extraction and finally the large scale cultivation of oleaginous microalgae, Dr. Feng explains.

The algae cultivation for the biodiesel production is also one of the VEI’s research areas.

  • We have done research together earlier and this visit is a great opportunity to find out what kind of equipment they have and how we can continue the research together, Erkki Hiltunen, Research Director of VEI, tells.
  • In Finland we have a climate that it quite different from southern China, so we have to find proper algae to grow. It is our common goal to find out replacements for the fossil fuels.

Energy and environment are an important theme for VEI in different research and development programs. Research concentrates the possibilities of energy self-sufficiency and the different alternatives for the concepts of sustainable energy services.

The visit was based on the agreement between Natural Science Foundation of China and Academy of Finland.

 

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