Advanced biofuels from seaweed - MacroFuels: turning a vision into reality

Since its start in 2016 the Horizon 2020 research and innovation project ‘MacroFuels’ achieved crucial breakthroughs for the production of advanced biofuels from macroalgae, commonly known as seaweed. During the EUSEW Energy Fair MacroFuels will showcase its concept for sustainably producing liquid fuels and fuel additives, such as ethanol, acetone-ethanol-butanol and novel furanics, from seaweed for the heavy transport and aviation sectors.

All our visitors are cordially invited to ask questions and to discuss the progress, advances and innovation along all segments of the seaweed-to-biofuels value chain, from novel concepts for the sustainable year-round large-scale seaweed cultivation in Europe via a novel and economically viable seaweed biorefinery through to seaweed-based fuel (additive) performances under real road conditions and in novel engine concepts that allow to use advanced biofuels more effectively.

Short videos, including those shot at our seaweed cultivation test sites, will give a great impression of a seaweed farm, and visitors will get the chance to see how seaweed is processed and treated and eventually converted to a liquid fuel. Simulations of novel engine concepts that allow to use advanced biofuels more effectively will show how emissions can be reduced even in retrofitted combustion engines. For the latter, MacroFuels entered a cooperation with the Dutch TNO Engine Center.

Visitors will also learn about the great environmental potential of seaweed, a rather novel biomass for Europe. Indeed, seaweed represents a highly promising feedstock for sustainable biofuels regarding the great potential for CO2 absorption (for the Dutch part of the North Sea alone a CO2 reduction potential of about 11 million tons were calculated) and the fast growth rates of seaweed (e.g.  compared to trees) result in a much faster reabsorption of CO2 released from its combustion. However, not all potential environmental impacts, especially those of large-scale seaweed cultivation, are known yet. We are ready to discuss necessary future work and existing knowlege gaps with our visitors.

Those who are interested will have the opportunity to answer a short survey on their opinions about biofuels from seaweed. Responses will help us to better understand public concerns and expectations towards novel advanced biofuels from an aquatic biomass and will be considered for future MacroFuels demonstration and piloting activities.