With the launch of the Algae Biofuels Challenge in October 2008, the Carbon Trust gave scientists an opportunity to find better means of producing algae biofuels. Scientists from 11 UK academic institutions have been shortlisted for the task of developing ways for large-scale production of algae biofuels. The Government agency set up to develop low carbon technologies for the UK has pulled together a dream team of over 70 UK algae scientists who have the expert knowledge to turn algae into biofuels. The aim of the project is to find a method of producing 70 billion liters of algae biofuel by 2030.
Under this research, the 11 institutions will screen thousands of strains of algae to find the right ones that can produce large quantities of carbon neutral fuels. Algae biofuels are said to be environmentally, ecologically and socially better than food crop biofuels. The Carbon Trust claims that algae is capable of deliver six to 10 times more energy per hectare than conventional cropland biofuels. Since 70 billion liters of biofuel production would require large man-made algae ponds, a pilot demonstration plant in an equatorial region where algae are most productive is to be set up. In addition to this project, another research project to develop methods for enabling large-scale production in algae ponds will also be undertaken.