Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group

Programme overview

The Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group (AB-SIG) was a joint network between NERC and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), hosted by the Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network - external link.

The high-level science goal of AB-SIG was to understand the opportunities and risks to the quality of freshwater and marine environments of using algal biomass as a source of renewable energy.

Background & objectives

The purpose of the £0·65 million AB-SIG Network was to rapidly scope the environmental science potential in the area of algal bioenergy, and to build the research networks and secure the key partnerships needed to facilitate this.

The key anticipated outcome was to generate opportunities for the research community to focus on developing the evidence base to inform decisions; for example on the best algal feed stocks for the UK, the most appropriate locations and environmental implications of macroalgal production, and predictive modelling of the implications of scaling up microalgae production on the environment.

Reports and key findings

One research fellowship entitled Impact of Algal Harvesting Technology on Ecosystem Function was awarded to Dr Jagroop Pandhal, University of Sheffield (NE/J024767/1).

A number of SPARK awards - external link were made in 2013, 2014 and 2015. These were £5,000 grants to enable new collaborations between the research community and Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), to encourage a longer term relationship between the SME and research-based partner.

The Industry Roadmap report, A UK Roadmap for Agal Technologies (PDF, 2·2MB) - external link , can be downloaded from the _connect website.