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.
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What’s your role within the EnAlgae project?
I am one of the three work package leaders in the EnAlgae project. My work package is looking at the economics of algae cultivation for energy applications, regulatory barriers and challenge and the environmental implication. The work package combines the expertise of researchers from
What were you doing before you joined the project?
I work for a ‘not for profit’ consultancy and information service called NNFCC. The work I do is very varied but in the main focusses on understanding how markets for bio-based chemicals and materials are developing, the industry drivers and challenges. In recent years I have undertaken projects for multinational brand owners, technology developers, research agencies, UK Government and the European Commission.
Why are you interested in EnAlgae?
Algae is an extremely interesting feedstock for bioeconomy development. To be successful the developing bioeconomy needs to be able to access sustainable raw materials in large quantities. As algae can be grown at sea or on marginal land it avoids the need to use valuable agricultural for its cultivation and therefore expands the global potential for raw material production. Energy is a high volume, low value; market which creates serious economic challenges for bioenergy development, the EnAlgae project is investigating the potential for algae to meet this challenge in the context of North West Europe. Having a better understanding of this potential will be useful for both European policy makers and technology developers.
What are you working on at the moment?
The EnAlgae project is one of several projects I’m currently working on. A major focus for me is the coordination of the UK Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) have committed up to £45M in 2014-15 for projects supporting the development and commercialisation of innovative Industrial Biotechnology processes arising from the UK research base. I am coordinating the dissemination of call information, advising applicants on call scope and assisting with project development.
Tell us something else about yourself!
My life is focussed on raising my three young children. In a previous life I was keen walker having completed the Inca Trail, the tour du Mont Blanc haute route and climbed Kilimanjaro.