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A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
Date:3/6/2012

The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, coordinates a research focus on determining the feasibility of employing microalgae as a cost-effective feedstock for fuel production, in an environmentally sustainable way.

The project will cover the whole process of microalgae oil production, including culture management for sustainable high oil yields, oil conversion to biofuel, and reuse residual biomass from the oil extract process for biogas production.

In this project participates CENER (Spanish National Centre for Renewable Energies), Tecnalia Research & Innovation Foundation, University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Environment and Safety Association in Aquitaine (APESA), and Agro Resources Application and Transformation Centre (CATAR-CRITT), together with the support of Acciona. A key part of the project will be the ongoing interaction and collaboration between all partners.

Biodiesel is a synthetic liquid biofuel that is mainly made from oleaginous plant oils, like palm or soybean. In recent years, microalgae have been pointed as the next feedstock for biofuels, due to their very high productivities when compared with the conventional energy crops. However, many problems have hampered industrial biofuel production from this biomass.

Given the need to solve problems associated to the development of this technology, Neiker-Tecnalia, together with the group of organisations involved in the project, wants to provide technological solutions applicable to industrial scale thus, contributing to the utilization of microalgae as renewable energy source. The project, called Energreen, is scheduled to go on for two years.

Neiker-Tecnalia researchers believe that traditional methods of growing microalgae can be improved by modifying metabolism of these microscopic algae. Metabolic regulation is a tool to encourage microalgae cells to produce and accumulate more oil. Once this goal
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Contact: Irati Kortabitarte
i.kortabitarte@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert  

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