FUELGAE Sustainable On-site and Innovative Technologies for Advanced Transport BioFuels from MicroalGae

Europe’s commitment to decarbonizing the economy (a 55% reduction of GHG emissions compared to 1990 by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050) is clearly stated in the European Green Deal. To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, it will be necessary to develop green technologies, establish sustainable industrial practices, and reduce emissions.

The FUELGAE project represents a new approach to eliminating CO₂ emissions and transforming them into advanced liquid fuels. It aims to develop a novel model of advanced liquid fuels (ALF) production from the different CO2 emissions streams of two industrial sectors (in the form of a biorefinery and an energy intensive industry, specifically a steel mill) through a microalgae pilot plant integrated into their infrastructure.


Horizon Europe | CINEA


€ 4.99 million

Start date



48 months

Project details

The challenge

Global CO₂ emissions were approximately 37.49 Gigatonnes in 2022, of which 2.73 Gt were produced by the EU-27. Whilst the EU has reduced its emissions, current projections indicate that this will be insufficient to reach the targets set by the European Green Deal. Transport accounts for almost 25% of the EU-27’s GHG emissions and is a significant contributor to air pollution in cities. Whilst the EU is promoting the electrification of transport, a viable option for small vehicles, that is insufficient for air and maritime transport or heavier vehicles. In these sectors, the reduction of carbon emissions necessitates the development and supply of clean liquid fuels at rates sufficient to meet the needs of airlines and shipping companies in a manner that is economically viable.

The solution

Like other plants, Microalgae naturally capture and convert CO₂ during the process of photosynthesis; but, they are able to do this significantly more efficiently: the EU has highlighted their potential in the production of the next generation of biofuels. The FUELGAE project will built and validated a microalgae pilot plant at two industrial sites in Romania (steel plant) and Spain (biorefinery). The resulting biomass will undergo novel treatment, boosted by the employment of novel modelling tools and comprehensive LCA/LCC analysis, demonstrating the existence of opportunities to transition away from the use of conventional fossil fuels.

The main impacts

The FUELGAE project will contribute to the development of innovative and novel technologies for the production of renewable fuels

  • a scalable photobioreactor for microalgae cultivation
  • a case study for sustainable and efficient production of advanced liquid biofuels via lipids accumulation, extraction and catalytic upgrade
  • advanced modelling and monitoring technologies to support real-time decision-making for yield maximisation
  • promoting the energy transition by demonstrating that CO2 emissions can be converted into a sustainable energy resource.


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. Grant Agreement 101122151.