The Neiker-Tecnalia institute, a public body dependent on the Basque Government, has identified a more productive way of obtaining oil from algae for biodiesel in order to ensure that this type of energy is more economically profitable and more environmentally sustainable.
Technological development, planned within the Energreen project, has achieved a quality biodiesel, obtained from algae biomass, that contains at least 30% oil. The aim of the Energreen project has been to readapt traditional methods of growing microalgae in order to obtain micro-organisms with a high energy potential.
Crop-specific strategies have been established during development of the project, based on limiting nutrients, which have yielded biomass with a high lipid content. Thanks to this high oil content and to the identification of more effective extraction and transformation systems, quality biodiesel has been successfully obtained.
The residual biomass generated after oil extraction has been evaluated for its methanogenic potential for producing biogas. Microalgae are an ideal source of bio-energy, since they do not compete with crops intended for food and could potentially produce higher yields.