UK: ‘Dream Team’ Assembled at Carbon Trust to Tackle Algae
The goal? Find a winning formula for cultivating 70 billion litres of algae biofuel a year by 2030, which is the equivalent of 6% of road transport diesel and a savings of over 160 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
The eleven institutions were selected from over 80 initial proposals following an extensive competition and detailed assessment process. They include:
- University of Coventry
- London Queen Mary
- University of Manchester
- University of Newcastle (Supported on one project by Critical Processes Ltd)
- Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
- Scottish Association for Marine Science
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University of Swansea (Supported by Bangor University and PML)
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, announced:
We have pulled together a dream team of over 70 UK algae scientists who have the expert knowledge to turn algae into a British biofuel success story. Applying principles this country has developed from its proud agricultural heritage and leading bioscience expertise we will be developing a truly sustainable biofuel that could provide up to 80% carbon savings compared to diesel savings in car and jet fuel. With a market value of over £15 billion the potential rewards are high.
The announcement comes on the heels of a backlash against the European Commission for failing to release studies investigating the impact of biofuels on the environment. The lawsuit filed by environmental lawyers and activists came just weeks after a leaked report suggested that the Commission may be classifying dense palm oil plantations as “forest” to allow companies to conceal an alteration of the vegetation, and in turn to retain their sustainability credentials.
Launching Europe’s most significant public initiative into algae biofuels, Transport Minister, Sadiq Khan, said in a timely statement:
This project demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that second generation biofuels are truly sustainable – and to show the potential from microalgae to be refined for use in renewable transport fuel development, to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The Carbon Trust is investing £8 million over 3 years into the projects using funding from the Department for Transport and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Image: Flickr/Lee Nachtigal