UK launches Algae Biofuels Challenge

by Antonio Pasolini on October 24, 2008

The Carbon Trust, a UK governmental organization set up to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, yesterday launched the Algae Biofuels Challenge to look for ways to commercialize the use of algae biofuel as an alternative to fossil based oil by 2020. The Algae Biofuels Challenge is a multi-million pound UK R&D initiative that could see the Carbon Trust commit £3m to £6m of funding in the initial stages. The Department for Transport recently announced it will be contributing to the funding of this initiative.

“Beyond 2020, algae-based biofuel has the potential to replace a significant proportion of fossil fuel used in road transport and aviation, saving hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon every year globally whilst creating an industry worth tens of billions of pounds. For example, initial forecasts suggest that algae-based biofuels could replace over 70 billion litres of fossil derived fuels used worldwide annually in road transport and aviation by 2030 (equivalent to 12% of annual global jet fuel consumption or 6% of road transport diesel). This would equate to an annual carbon saving of over 160 million tonnes of CO2 globally and a market value of over £15 billion”, the organization said.

“We must find a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to oil for our cars and planes if we are to deliver the deep cuts in carbon emissions necessary to tackle climate change. Algae could provide a significant part of the answer and represents a multi billion pound opportunity. Through the Algae Biofuels Challenge, we will be combining the UK’s undoubted expertise in the area with our unique knowledge and experience of commercialising early stage low carbon technologies, to give us the best possible chance of successfully producing cost-competitive algal biofuel at scale”, added Dr Mark Williamson, Innovations Director at the Carbon Trust.

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