A documentary about the EnAlgae project has recently been launched on YouTube. The EnAlgae project was four-year Strategic Initiative of the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme, that brought together 19 partners and 14 observers – including the NNFCC – 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.
EnAlgae has brought together nine pilot facilities around North West Europe: six dedicated to cultivating microalgae and three to working on the cultivation of macroalgae.
While the main objective of the 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.
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.