Biomass from marine microalgae

Biomass from marine microalgae

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To meet the need for new, cleaner energy, novel research is now under way. It is about transforming marine algae into biomass. The goal is to use this biomass for energy and in production of various materials, such as plastic.

Published: Jan, 31, 2019

Society is facing major challenges in the task of generating enough biomass for energy and material production. Biomass from microalgae, which are rich in oil, has great potential for supplementing other forms of biomass — those from forests and farms.

— We aim to develop an energy-efficient growing system for outdoor cultivation, on Sweden’s west coast, of microalgae characterised by great biodiversity,’ says Cornelia Spetea Wiklund.

In this project, the researchers will use a system that was previously developed by RISE for freshwater environments, and is now being adapted for marine application.

— Our concept is based on simulating the formation of oil deposits millions of years ago. It’s been tested in an industrial environment, with good results. Instead of trying to compensate for high energy use with high production, we’re attempting to minimise the use of energy and make use of natural processes for harvesting,’ says Susanne Ekendahl, a scientist in the algal research group at RISE.

The algaculture takes place on a three-season basis, to make production more efficient.

— Our objective is to identify suitable algal strains for an annual rotation model, rotating various strains over three growing seasons. And then we’ll develop the optimal, most energy-efficient growing process for the marine environment,’ says Cornelia Spetea Wiklund, a professor at the University of Gothenburg.

Read more about RISE does within bio-economy here