tubes with microalgae
Screening of microalgae strains for biomass
Photo: Otilia Cheregi

Energy-efficient cultivation of marine microalgae for biomass production

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
4 928 000
Project period
2018 - 2020
Project owner
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Short description

Biomass from microalgae has great potential for use as both energy source and material production. In this project we want to further develop a system for outdoor cultivation of marine microalgae, to get a more energy-efficient production providing an extended growth season and higher total production of biomass for industry.

More about the project

The success of microalgae as a feedstock is highly dependent on the ability to produce large amounts of biomass with a high content of neutral lipids. Despite the fact that suitable strains and cultivation conditions have been optimized in the laboratory conditions and that high production levels could be achieved, the production is very expensive because of the large amount of fossil energy needed for system maintenance. The use of microalgae in outdoor cultivation in a profitable system of biomass production requires identifying strains that can maintain an efficient and robust photosynthesis while managing large fluctuations in light intensity and temperature. In this ongoing project we want to identify algal strains suitable for outdoor cultivation in the Swedish climate (West Coast) with large fluctuations in light and temperature all year round.

Our focus will be on the benthic diatom Skeletonema marinoi, which displays a wide genetic and physiological variability in the West Coast region. We will select strains from existing local collections and comparing their growth, photosynthetic activity and lipid in bioreactors programmed with dynamic environmental conditions typical of the seasons on the West Coast. Based on our results, we will offer a unique annual rotational model for cultivation of marine microalgae on the West Coast for extended growth season and higher production of biomass for industry.


Cornelia Spetea Wiklund, professor
Mats Andersson, researcher
Otilia Cheregi, postdoc
Mats Töpel, researcher, Department of Marine Sciences, GU
Susanne Ekendahl, Johan Engelbrektsson, Niklas Strömberg, RISE