From algae to biokerozen

Home Technologist Online From algae to biokerozen

What if the solution came from the sea?


Strongly involved in the development of renewable fuel technologies, The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built a worldwide one-of-a-kind technical facility for algae cultivation at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn to the south of Munich in cooperation with Airbus Group. Efficient processes for producing biokerosene and chemical products from algae will be developed there. The AlgaeTec facility was inaugurated October 13, 2015.

The 1,500 square meter building houses three areas for algae cultivation, as well as laboratory and office space. What sets the Ottobrunn algae center apart is the fact that lighting and climate conditions for practically any location on Earth can be simulated. Airbus Group and the Bavarian Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs, Science and the Arts are sharing the costs of just over ten million euros for the facility and the equipment.

Scientists estimate that there are some 150,000 different types of algae. Around 5,000 of them have been fundamentally characterized. Yet only around ten species have been implemented for commercial exploitation. With their new algae facility, researchers aim to change this. They hope to develop efficient processes for the production of biokerosene and chemical products there.

“While the production of biofuels from corn implies a problematic competition between nutritional use and fuel,” says Professor Thomas Brück, Professor for Industrial Biocatalysis at the Technical University of Munich, “algae also grow in saltwater and require neither arable land nor pesticides. Still, they can generate up to ten times higher yields per hectare and year.”

“With this algae center, we are providing science with a research facility that is unique worldwide,”

says Bavarian Science Minister Dr. Ludwig Spaenle.

Adapted from article by Andreas Battenberg, TUM News


Contrary to popular belief, sustainable solutions can be good for business. A look at some of Europe’s most innovative efforts.

A recently discovered material could make solar cells more efficient.

Festival hacks, designed by engineering students.

Linking various smart and sustainable gadgets, as well as people and technology.