Algae are a large group of simple aquatic organisms that have long been grown and harvested for many different uses.
They can be found in a variety of food and beauty products on the supermarket shelves, but exciting scientific developments in recent years have also revealed their bioenergy potential. As fossil fuel resources continue to decline around the globe, it is vital that new sources of fuel are identified and developed.
The EnAlgae project has received funding to develop algal bioenergy technologies at nine pilot facilities and to advance the emerging marketplace in North West Europe.
An INTERREG IVB North West Strategic Initiative
EnAlgae is a four-year Strategic Initiative of the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme. It brings together 19 partners and 14 observers across 7 EU Member States with the aim of developing sustainable technologies for algal biomass production.
Click to find out more about EnAlgae
QUB Project Manager
What’s your role within the EnAlgae project?
I am responsible for co-ordinating the development of one of the macroalgae pilot facilities in Queens University Belfast. I also work with the other macro and microalgae partners to develop standard operating procedures and best practices for algal cultivation, and to engage and promote the work to stakeholders.
What were you doing before you joined the project?
I studied Marine Biology at Queens University and stayed on there to complete my PhD in cyanobacterial ecology and toxicology. After finishing the PhD, I worked as an ecology and toxicology lecturer in Napier University for a year before joining EnAlgae.
Why are you interesting in EnAlgae?
Coming from an environmental background and having an interest in environmental and energy policy, I feel lucky to be part of a project of this nature. I love the challenge of combining innovative research with traditional algal growing methods in a way that is beneficial to both the environment and the economy. An important aspect of the job is in promoting renewable energy to the public and stakeholders; I enjoy working with local communities to develop an algal biomass facility that will promote local business and economics as well as improving the environment.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are in the last stage of hatchery production, we have seeded our juvenile algae culture onto string which is growing in tanks before we put it out into the sea next month where it will grow to maturity before harvesting. We are also developing environmental surveys and organising school visits to explain our research to the local children and teachers.
Tell us something else about yourself!
I try to cook for friends and family whenever possible - I’m a big fan of good food, good wine and great conversation! When not working or cooking, I’ll be reading or off for a coastal walk and a nosy in the rockpools!