Fuel4ME final consortium meeting held in Wageningen, The Netherlands from 7th to 9th November, 2016. A sum-up of the achievements obtained during this short period of 3 year was done which will be published in the final Newsletter. The entire Consortium is very thankful to the European Commission and 7FPM.”

EU Algae Roadmap Conference

EU Algae Roadmap Conference succeed from 6 to 8 April on Olhão, Portugal.

fuel4me 1       

fuel4me 2    

 fuel4me 3



Get to know about the outdoor production of microalgae


Outdoor production of microalgae


Summer outdoor tests were successfully concluded by WP2 partners and the first set of data for Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) analysis collected. Input/output data of starvation and limitation tests performed were presented during the last GA meeting in Wageningen (November 2014). Currently a method for the extrapolation of data input parameter obtained in small pilots to a scaled-up plant to be used for the LCA analysis is under development. This will harmonize the data collected by the individual partners and facilitate the next LCA phase.


Fotosintetica & Microbiologicaplant in Florence (Italy)


Concerning F&M activity, outdoor tests just started again. New set of input/output data will be collected and used as representative of the Spring season in Florence. Based on results of the previous cultivation campaign, protocols for nitrogen starvation and limitation experiments are being adjusted both for NannochloropsisandPhaeodactylum.


AlgaePARC, Wageningen UR (Netherlands)



At AlgaePARC in Wageningen, NL, winter is over and the systems have been prepared for the new growth season. The reactors were inoculated in April.


The first outdoor cultivations will be batches that mimic the cultivations already performed indoor. This will create a clear picture of the differences between indoor and outdoor cultivation, and will also allow us to detect possible bottlenecks of the newly constructed reactors.


Next, to explore the possibilities and limitations of continuous biomass production, an innovative approach will be used to exert a well-defined degree of nitrogen limitation. The accurate control of nitrogen supply allows to optimize the oil yield on sunlight, and compare the novel approach with other conventional systems.



Ben GurionUniversity (Israel)

 BGU has cultivated Nannochloropsis and Phaeodactylum in parallel during winter, recording productivity, resource input, and light exploitation respective to reactor outlay.


Panels have been oriented facing south in a distance permitting highest light utilization during winter. Spacing distances of 1.4 m can be applied between October and February allowing about 50 l/m2 of cultivation volume. Between March and September spacing of 75 cm can be applied allowing cultivation volumes of 100 l/m2.


In those panels productivities of the two species are rather similar, about 0.2 gl-1day-1. Because of the high cooling cost and low productivity we have investigated alternative technologies allowing better light exploitation under lower energy input for cooling, that have yielded highly promising initial results.


Biotopicplant at Huelva (Spain)


At Biotopic, a flat panel demonstration plant was installed in January 2015 in Huelva, Spain.


The installation consists of 20 ProviApt reactors, each containing 35 panels of 0,5 m2, i.e. a total panel area of 350 m2. The fooprint of the entire installation is 290 m2 .


Phaeodactylum tricornutum is being propagated for inoculation of the plant.



















FUEL4ME partners joined in Wageningen for their third General Assembly

FUEL4ME partners paid a visit to the Dutch city of Wageningen to attend the third FUEL4ME General Assembly, organized by Wageningen UR, coordinator of the project.  

In the afternoon of the 17th, Work package leaders had the occasion to present the progress of their challenges, achievements and prospective outcomes of their activities to the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). This project body is composed by Olaf Kruse (University of Bielefeld), Gabriel Acien Fernández (University of Almería) and Alessandro Agostini and Stefania Rocca (European Commission, Joint Research Centre Institute for Energy and Transport). The SAB members gave a very interesting feedback, shared their insight on the progress of the project and made some inspiring suggestions to optimize the project results.

After that, they all visited the facilities of the AlgaePARC from Wageningen UR, where they could see in situ the functioning of the different photobioreactors and the new outdoor set-up especially for the FUEL4ME project.

The following photos show FUEL4ME partners and SAB members visiting the AlgaePARC:

 IMG 0102 1


IMG 0108 1 


On the 18th and 19th November partners held their scientific presentations and discussed on the results obtained and in the last months,the ongoing activities, the interrelation between all work packages: Fundamental research on the optimization of lipid production, on proteonomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics (WP1), the outdoor production of biomass in Italy, Israel, Holland and Spain (WP2), harvesting, disruption and extraction processes (WP3), the economic, social and environmental sustainability (WP5) and the dissemination and exploitation activities (WP6).

Presentation on WP1 progress

 IMG 0111 1


 FUEL4ME 3rd General Assembly has been a fruitful forum for discussion and exchange of results of FUEL4ME project, which progressively comes closer to the final goal of achieving a sustainable continuous process to produce biofuel from microalgae 

FUEL4ME consortium 

IMG 0116 1



Enviromental, economic and social assessment

FUEL4ME will also perform an assessment of the sustainability including environmental, economic and social parameters of a continuous production and conversion process developed in the project. The results will be used to guide the technical development and future implementation in the desired direction and to be able to determine economic feasibility and environmental sustainability.

Within the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) the methodologies Life Cycle Costing (LCC), Life Cycle Analyses (LCA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will be used. Different concepts of the FUEL4ME integrated process have been developed for the assessment with the following main characteristics: location of the cultivation, microalgae specie, capacity of biofuel production, size of one algae cultivation site, protein separation and fertilizer production.

The assessment of different concepts will be used to analyze different parameters. Concerning the framework for the sustainability assessment the system boundary, functional unit, data sources and qualities, and the reference system with conventional products (see Figure 1 on next page) have been developed.


Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment



Optimization of harvesting, cell disruption and extraction processes

While improving cultivation techniques by fundamental research and translating it to outdoors conditions in different locations, FUEL4ME project aims at developing and integrating a downstream process for conversion of microalgae biomass into biofuels. With this purpose, activities on the optimization of the harvesting, cell disruption and extraction processes.

Evodos first centrifuge prototype was successfully demonstrated at Fotosintetica & Microbiologica in Italy, obtaining a paste containing 26% solids for Nannochloropsis and 22% for Phaeodactylum. A second Evodos larger centrifuge prototype will be placed in the pilot plant at Biotopic to demonstrate the re-use of the effluent water for microalgae cultivation.

Lipids from Nannochloropsiswere successfully extracted by using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2). A characterization of the biomass lipid showed that a maximum yield of 46% is possible with a triacylglycerol rich biomass. We succeeded in upgrading transesterified oil using scCO2 fractionation to isolate C16 from eicosapentaenoic ethyl esters.

Next step will be to obtain a higher extraction yield. This could be achieved by using biomass with high TAG content and by studying the effect of cracking cells by the supersonic flow fluid technology prior to extraction. The cell cracking technology is developed by Cellulac. Then low and high value lipids will be separated by scCO2 fractionation. The low value lipids will be converted into biofuels with NesteOil technology.

The spent biomass after extraction will be characterized and this information will be used for a further step of producing hydrogen from the sugars present in the spent biomass

Outdoor production of microalgae

General parameters of the pilot plants based on a common basic design (flat panel reactors) were defined for all the three locations: the Netherlands, Italy and Israel. Detailed engineering of each plant was based on the specific knowledge of each group instead, resulting in three different systems.

Two Thermopane glass panels will be installed in The Netherlands, two disposable panels were installed in Israel, seven Green Wall Panels-III were installed in Italy. A section of the demo plant (250 m2), based on the Proviron reactor design, was delivered and installed in Matalascañas (Spain). The larger section of the demo plant will be installed in Huelva (Spain).