Mediterranean organizations kick off algae research project


The American University of Beirut recently announced it has partnered with researchers from the Lebanese Association for Energy Savings and for Environment (ALMEE) and researchers from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Egypt to study the possibility of producing algae-based biodiesel. According to information released by AUB, the partnership is coordinated by the Agricultural Institute of Cyprus in collaboration with the Cyprus Energy Alliance. A total of 12 organizations, including research organizations, academic institutions, energy agencies and private organizations are participating in the project.

Titled “Production of biofuels from microalgae in selected Mediterranean Countries ENPI MED ALGAE,” the project is funded by the Programme, ENPI European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrumentation—Mediterranean Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme.

Information released by AUB states that the project will incorporate all stages of development, from strain identification to testing and evaluation of the resulting biofuel products. More specifically, the study will include seawater and freshwater sampling, the selection of algae strains, species identification, feedstock cultivation, harvesting and extraction, conversion into biodiesel and fuel quality testing. As part of the project, pilot facilities are expected to be established in Cyprus, Italy, Malta, Lebanon and Egypt.

As part of the project, AUB noted that participants will also aim to collect all the available data on algae in the participating countries. This will be done via a literature review. In addition, the availability of state-of-the-art technologies will also be studies. The researchers will also aim to provide feasibility studies after the implementation of research activities.

According to information provided by the Agricultural Institute of Cyprus, a kick-off meeting for the project was help in Nicosia, Cyprus in January. The organization also stated that the project is expected to create a new value chain for the production of algae-based biofuels through local and regional collaboration between public and private sectors.