Energy Production from Marine Biomass (Ulva Lactuca)

This project was completed in October 2011. The background for this research activity was the 2020 goals for reduction of the CO2 and a need to mobilize renewable sources of energy.


 Project partners

  • Aarhus University Department of Bioscience (former National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University)
  • Risø DTU (DTU is Technical University of Denmark)
  • DONG Energy A/S, the largest utility company in Denmark
  • Danish Technological Institute (project owner)


Purpose of the project

The purpose of the project, which was the first of its kind in Denmark, was to give suggestions of how macro algae (Ulva lactuca) could be cultivated and used for energy production in Denmark.


Objectives of the project

  • Estimate the growth potential for Ulva lactuca in land based basins
  • Design of growth basins and harvest technologies for sea weed cultivation
  • To analyse the compounds in the algae biomass
  • Assess whether Ulva lactuca is suitable for combustion, gasification and production of bioethanol and biogas.


Conclusions in short

  • Annual yield of Ulva lactuca is 4-5 times land-based energy crops.
  • Potential for increased growth rate when bubbling with flue gas is up to 20%.
  • Ethanol yield is 0,14 gram pr gram dry Ulva lactuca. The butanol production is lower
  • Methane yields of Ulva lactuca are at a level between cow manure and energy crops.
  • Co-firing of Ulva lactuca with coal in power plants is limited due to high ash content
  • Production of Ulva lactuca only for energy purposes at power plants is too costly. 


Download final report here