German scientists seek microalgae breakthrough


In Germany, a new project to produce platform chemicals using microalgae as feedstock has gotten underway.

Led by Professor Stefan Mecking from the University of Konstanz’s Department of Chemistry, the project will receive €917,000 (US$1.04 million) in funding over three years. The work will specifically focus on extracting algae in a simple process using supercritical carbon dioxide.

“We want to simplify the overall process by integrating the extraction stage as far as possible with the following chemical conversion stages in which those products are manufactured which are actually needed,” Mecking says.

Microalgae is an attractive feedstock because it requires relatively limited land area and water and does not compete with food.