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Neste Oil to Play a Part in Two Algae Research Projects in Australia and the Netherlands

Neste Oil Corporation, a Finnish oil refining and marketing company has announced that it is going to participate in two algae research projects this summer for investigating the methods of algae cultivation in outdoor conditions. The goal of the projects in the Netherlands and Australia will be to build up experience on the suitability of different types of algae for use in industrial-scale production under a variety of conditions.

 

The five- year AlgaePARC project was launched in the Netherlands on 17th June and is being coordinated by the Wageningen University and Research Center and will involve 18 corporate partners. The project will focus on the development of technologies and processes for industrial scale microalgae cultivation and its application in food, fuel and chemical production. Neste Oil will be taking part in the project along with companies from these sectors.

 

Another project, named Solar Biofuels Consortium, is to be launched in Australia this summer. The project is to be coordinated by the University of Queensland and seven companies and research institutions will be a part of the project. The three-year project will focus on various technologies for growing algae and optimizing the conditions for high oil yields.


According to Markku Patajoki, the Head of Neste Oil’s Biotechnology Group, the company is aims to expand the range of raw materials they use for producing NExBTL renewable diesel, and algae represent one of the most promising materials because of their excellent potential oil yields. He added that the key challenge is in scaling up the output to industrial levels and he hopes that the two projects will aid them in overcoming the challenge.

 

Studies have shown that algae species that produce and store lipids represent a potential source of raw material for NExBTL renewable diesel. The suitability of algae oil for use in the NExBTL process has already been confirmed, according to the company. “The straightforward nature and flexibility of the NExBTL process gives us a definite advantage in terms of algae research, as we know precisely the type of properties that we need,” says Pauliina Uronen, Algae Research Project Manager at Neste Oil. “Research on new raw materials such as algae is a long-term effort, however, and you cannot expect to get results overnight.”

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