President’s family fraud trial forces closure of seaweed fuel plant

AN experimental bio fuel plant that turns seaweed into oil is to be shut down. The Carboneras Ecofield project, owned by Bio Fuel Systems (BFS), has been abandoned following the trial of the company’s president and his family in Alicante.

Investors have abandoned the project following the trial of Bernard Stroiazzo Mougin, his wife Belinda Anne Halsall and their three children for tax fraud and evasion.

Three years after Ecofield’s high-profile launch, major backers such as Italian investment group Enalg – who gave €14 million to BFS – and Chupa Chups moguls the Bernat family have pulled out of the project.

Employees have allegedly not been paid since last year and suppliers are waiting for invoices spanning more than two years to be cleared.

Stroiazzo signed an agreement with Carboneras Town Hall in September 2011 to build the bio fuel plant, creating jobs in the community. However, the plant has been dormant for more than a year.

The production process sees carbon dioxide emissions fed into a photobioreactor, where they are eaten by microalgae which when aided by solar energy generate biomass that creates the oil.

The family are also being investigated by Portuguese authorities, after a plant on the island of Porto Santo in the Madeira Archipelago – for which Stroiazzo received a €9 million advance – was abandoned in construction.


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