The InteSusAl project was a European co-funded project involving the design, construction and operation of an algae production facility in Olhão, Portugal. Decerna completed a life cycle assessment following the principles of ISO 14040/44 to understand the range of environmental impacts within the supply chain and process. These findings were then compared to a fossil fuel alternative.

Outline and objectives

The InteSusAl project involved the production of algae by both heterotrophic and phototrophic routes. A demonstrated integration of the following production technologies (Raceway, PhotoBioReactor and Fermentation) was also investigated during the project.

The primary objective of the project was to use algae species and cultivation technologies to attain algal oil with a suitable lipid profile for biodiesel production. This work is then to be validated through conversion of extracted oil into biodiesel that met standard specifications.


An ISO 14040/14044 compliant Life Cycle Assessment was completed. The impacts comparing the environmental impacts of the algae-based biofuels were compared against fossil fuel derived diesel baseline model. The modelling was undertaken using GaBi with primary data from the facility, secondary data from the Ecoinvent Database. The impact categories considered were ReCiPe Hierarchist Mid Points.

Through these comparisons, a greater understanding of the environmental impacts of biofuels derived from algae was obtained. This greater knowledge then was used to influence the direction of future projects towards high value products.

Project consortium

In addition to Decerna, the consortium included

  • Centre for Process Innovation (UK) provided enabling technology and IP related to low cost heterotrophic algal cultivation and experience in collaborative project management. CPI were the project coordinator
  • Necton (PT) had prior knowledge of microalgal phototrophic cultivation. The demonstration aspects of the project were be located at their premises, in the Algarve region of Portugal
  • NIOZ (NL) provided expert knowledge on the optimum algae strain selection
  • DLO-FBR (NL) provided a wide-ranging knowledge in the industrialisation of algae-based processes and separation technology
  • European Renewable Energy Research Centres Agency (BE) undertook the dissemination of the project results

Further information

Our newsletter

For regular updates on our activities, please sign up to our mailing list