[EU] A fascinating new documentary from the team at EnAlgae has been released on YouTube and tells the story of four years of work into the potential of algae for the bio-economy. It also gives an insight into the context in which the work was undertaken and offers a vision of where the research and the algal industry might now journey in the future.
The EnAlgae project, a four-year Strategic Initiative of the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme, brought together 19 partners and 14 observers across seven EU Member States. Since its inception in March 2011, the EnAlgae project has been working to develop the potential of algae in sustainable technologies for bioenergy production and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, and to reduce the reliance by North West Europe on traditional fossil fuels.
While the main objective of the Swansea University in Wales based En Algae (@EnAlgae_NWE) project was to explore the potential for algal biomass to deliver sustainable energy and resources, it revealed some interesting results. With the barrel cost of oil almost halving compared to the beginning of this project (five years ago), and revised estimates for the realistic potential for algal biofuels, project partners have concluded that is looks highly unlikely that algae can contribute significantly to Europe’s need for sustainable energy.
“It’s clear from all the work and studies we’ve done that algae for energy alone is not a viable proposition,” said the project’s principle investigator, Professor Kevin Flynn. “This documentary offers viewers an insight into why that is. It also presents the project within its historical setting, outlining the political framework and technological capabilities which have operated across our partnership during the lifetime of the project,” added Flynn.
The study, however, highlighted the great potential for commercial exploitation of algae in other sectors, such as food and nutraceuticals. The need for food alone is just as important to Europe as energy, and algae contain valuable dietary components for humans. The major legacy products of EnAlgae will help to further the continued expansion of EU algal industries. These products include manuals of best practice and standard operating procedures, a decision support tool that looks at commercial production levels, and a network for future collaboration
“We hope that this film, together with our decision support toolset and Algal Information Network, will help inform and educate anyone with a passing interest in our work and the wonders of algae.”
For more on EnAlgae visit: www.enalgae.eu
View original article at: ‘Panning for Green Gold: developing the algal bio-economy.’