ALGATEC-CM: Development of advanced microalgae technologies for a circular economy

Program of R&D activities between research groups of “Comunidad de Madrid”, co-funded with the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund (Ref: S2018/BAA-4532).

ALGATEC program is a unique and pioneering technological opportunity in the Community of Madrid for the development of the concept of microalgae biorefinery within the framework of the circular economy.

The controversy caused using agrifood crops to produce energy has been driving the search for new sustainable alternatives avoiding the negative effects of the foodtoenergy debate. Therefore, third generation biofuels have been proposed as an alternative, with microalgae in a leading position since they show very high biomass yields per hectare, they are renewable, sustainable and nonpolluting raw material that contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, microalgae present technical and economic barriers that impede their full industrial development. The economic viability of microalgae needs the coupling the biofuels production with the extraction of products with high added value products. On the other hand, from the scientific and technical point of view, it is necessary to develop knowledge and strain improvement tools for potential microalgae species with industrial application, as well as to develop and optimize new processes both to extract high value products and to valorize the residual biomass for biofuels production.


In ALGATEC, energy recovery is proposed through the development of processes such as hydrothermal liquefaction, to get a biooil with similar properties to mineral diesel fuel and biomethanation to get methane. Finally, the systems analysis applied to the whole process will allow to determine the feasibility, at industrial scale, of all processes developed considering all types of socioeconomic and environmental parameters applying the methodologies of the life cycle analysis.

Partners: Rey Juan Carlos University (Coordinator); CIB-CSIC; CIEMAT; Autonoma University of Madrid; Polytechnic University of Madrid; Lab 370
Funding Institution/Program: Comunidad de Madrid/Program of R&D activities between research groups in Technology 2018
Period: January 2019-April 2023
Principal researcher Lab 370: Dr. Elia Tomás