Successful Brussels close out event brings EnAlgae project to an end

A successful close out conference in Brussels has brought the €14.5 million four year Swansea University-led EnAlgae project to an end.

‌Almost 100 people attended the one-day event, including two Members of the European Parliament, including Welsh MEP Derek Vaughan, a representative from the European Commission, algae sector businesses, and a regional government policy advisor.

EnAlgae close out in BrusselsJoining them were the scientists and support staff from Swansea University, along with colleagues from seven EU member states who have delivered the project, who were able to present the outputs and conclusions together with a series of policy suggestions for European leaders to take forward.

“Our overall conclusion from this pan-NWE project indicates that biofuels from algae are unlikely to be of significance for Europe,” said the project’s principle investigator Professor Kevin Flynn, from the University’s College of Science.

“But we plan to continue engaging our MEPs with a view to changing EU policies. In particular we would like to enhance the scope for future algal research to commercialise the sector for bioremediation and also for pharma and food security support.”

The policy recommendations include: 

  • Introduce a strong and reliable framework supporting algae cultivation and algal products, including algae from waste;
  • Building open access pilot facilities for developing and testing algae cultivation and processing at commercially relevant scales;
  • Developing tools to create sustainable algae value chains;
  • Increasing transparency of societal and market benefits and costs of algae;
  • Produce, maintain and increase visibility of technical and business competencies supporting algae cultivation and biorefining.

These recommendations can be found in the latest report card available online, along with key information on the project.

The project would also like to see the algal expertise available in the region used to develop North West Europe as a hub for all things associated with the algal industry.

Helping with that endeavour are two of the project’s legacies, the Decision Support Toolset and Algal Information Network. Both can be found at www.algae-network.eu.

“The idea with the toolset is to provide potential adopters of algal technology with all the advice they could need about the industry and its possibilities,” said the project coordinator Dr Shaun Richardson, from the University’s College of Science.

“It’s also there to advise governments and help with policy making.

“The Algal Information Network will then help establish links between all the players involved in the algae industry, which is still very much in its infancy. And again it will offer access to advice and experts in each of the member states.

“This is very much a beginning, and we hope to see this develop into the future.”

The EnAlgae project is led by Swansea University and funded by the European Union under the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme. EnAlgae unites experts and observers from seven EU member states to determine the potential benefits of algae as a future sustainable energy source.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the EnAlgae project can visit www.enalgae.eu.


Image caption: Jenna Hopkins, EnAlgae project administrator; Dr Alla Silkina; Catharine Jones, EnAlgae project publicity officer; Professor Kevin Flynn, Principal Investigator; Dr Shaun Richardson, EnAlgae project coordinator; Dr Phil Kenny; Dr Bob Lovitt; and Dr Carole Llewellyn of Swansea University.