Producing biofuels from algae

Microalgae are showing huge potential as a sustainable source of biofuels.

The Challenge

Producing biofuels from renewable sources

Due to concerns about peak oil, energy security, fuel diversity and sustainability, there is great interest around the world in renewable sources of biofuels.

Microalgae are great candidates for sustainable production of biofuels and associated bioproducts:

  • they naturally form oils that have good biodiesel potential
  • they produce other lipids that have potential for aviation fuel
  • microalgal biomass itself can be converted to or used directly as fuel
  • high biomass cultivation of microalgae could mitigate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as the microalgae photosynthesise and grow.

Our Response


We undertake biodiscovery of new microalgae from environments where they bloom naturally, assessing the ecological benefits of those microalgae and their potential as production strains.

Looking down the microscope at the microalgae Nannochloropsis.

We also work with industry to select appropriate microalgae for different biofuel applications.

The Results

Screening strains

We have screened more than 200 strains from over 125 species and 16 different classes of algae in our collection, including the high hydrocarbon producing microalga Botryococcus and productive green algae such as Nannochloropsis and Tetraselmis.

We are discovering the potential of different strains for biodiesel through lipid profiling and assessing biofuel production potential. Our results enable us to select strains for tailored lipids or high productivity or both.


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