Algae production started on Bonaire

23-01-2017 | |
Algae production started on Bonaire. Photo: Dreamstime
Algae production started on Bonaire. Photo: Dreamstime

Wageningen University & Research (UR) in the Netherlands is building a small-scale algae pilot on the isle of Bonaire.

The Dutch University is partnering with the Council of International Education and Exchange to build this pilot plant, which is an extension of the existing AlgaePARC from Wageningen UR, based in the Netherlands.

While Bonaire currently depends almost entirely on tourism, it is aiming for a more diverse economy. “Bonaire is interesting for us as a research location because it offers ideal production conditions. Travel agency TUI is also participating in the research based on its interest in bio-kerosene, a potential way to increase the sustainability of its core business”, says René Wijffels, professor at Wageningen UR.

“The research facility on Bonaire is a business case for the island. And there are many islands like Bonaire: with a major dependence on the tourism industry and little production. This makes the local economy vulnerable. Algae production could diversify the economy on the island. On the other hand, if we find answers to the more practical issues related to algae production on Bonaire, we could also produce algae closer to home”, explains Wijffels.

There are countless applications for algae. In the medium term, Wijffels sees potential for algae as a replacement for soy oil, soy protein or fishmeal. “There is significant demand for these products. Fishmeal is used as fish feed in salmon farms, for example, but is currently being produced from wild caught fish – which is clearly not very sustainable.”

Source: Wageningen UR

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor