EU Med project works on algae, the new fuel of the future

Challenge of the consortium of 12 organisations from 6 countries

26 February, 15:53

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, FEBRUARY 26 - Could algae be the fuel of the future? According to researchers working on an EU-funded Mediterranean Cross-Border Cooperation project they could, with micro-algae representing a potential alternative to petrol. The performance of micro-algae is ten times higher than traditional agro-fuels (colza, palm oil), they are easy to cultivate and fast-growing. Unlike colza, for instance, micro-algae can be produced soilless and do not compete with food crops. The main advantage of micro-algae is precisely their limited environmental footprint: this means neither intensive agriculture nor pollution of groundwater. Nevertheless, according to the Enpi website (, numerous issues still hamper the expansion of micro-algae. The extraction of micro-algae oil, which is transformed in liquid fuel, is very costly and energy-consuming.

    Another challenge in efficient biodiesel production is the identification of the algae strains which are the most performing, resilient and easiest to harvest. Finally, in order to foster the emergence of a new value chain, it is necessary to secure sufficient quantity and quality of algae fuel. Thanks to the establishment of pilot laboratories and a regional centre for production in Alexandria (Egypt), the MED-ALGAE project hopes to overcome these obstacles. The ENPI MED ALGAE project is coordinated by the Agricultural Research Institute of Cyprus in collaboration with the Cyprus Energy Agency. The consortium is consisted of 12 organisations: research organizations, academic institutions, energy agencies, private organizations from 6 countries: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Lebanon and Egypt. (ANSAmed).

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