IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Biofixation

Introduction

The IEAGHG operated a Biofixation Network for five years, but in 2009, developments outside of the network meant that its continuation was untenable.

However, many of the contributors of the network are involved with the Algal Biomass Organisation (ABO), and much of the current activity is building on the products of the network.

The ABO mission statement is:

The Algal Biomass Organisation promotes the development of viable commercial markets for renewable and sustainable commodities derived from algae.’

Their website can be found at www.algalbiomass.org and is a good source of information and links to other related activity.

Background Information on Biofixation

Microalgae cultures have been investigated as a source of renewable fuels for almost fifty years. The initial concept was to grow algae in municipal wastewaters, harvest the algal biomass and convert it to methane fuel. By the 1980s the R&D emphasis shifted to microalgae production in large-scale processes with fuels as the only outputs.

In the meantime, a microalgae food supplement production industry developed, starting in the 1960s in Japan for the production of Chlorella, followed by development in numerous countries of production processes for Spirulina, Dunaliella and recently, Haematococcus. At present, about 5, 000 tons of food- and feed-grade microalgae biomass are produced annually in large open pond systems.

Research & Development

A research and development 'Roadmap' (1MB Adobe Acrobat PDF) has been completed as the key tool for guiding future R&D activities integrating in its broad vision the projects carried out by the Network members. The Roadmap outlines the most plausible microalgae processes for GHG abatement and identifies R&D needs to develop such process within the 5 to 10 year time-frame of the Network. Several meetings and workshops have been held to develop a consensus among technical experts for the R&D priorities identified in the Roadmap.

A number of papers have been published by members of the network, and these are listed here, with some available to download. Please Click here to view.

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