The European Commission showed its support for the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA) by sending Peter Vis, Member of Cabinet of Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy, to the launch on 4 June. He was not the only representative of an international body and was joined by members of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Biodiesel Board. Above all, the event was attended by companies and scientific research organisations.
The general objective of the EABA is to promote mutual interchange and cooperation in the field of algae biomass production and use, including biofuels applications. It aims to create, develop and maintain solidarity and links between its members and defend their interests at European and international level and its main aim is to act as a catalyst for fostering synergies among scientists, industrialists and decision makers in order to promote the development of research, technology and industrial capacities in the field of algae.
Moving from theory to practice
As mentioned, one of the key objectives of the EABA is to push scientific research in the field of algae to a stage where algae biomass products are commercially viable. As well as nurturing synergies between scientists and industry, it is essential that the new association engages with policy makers, and in this context, the EABA intends to constitute a basis for establishing a permanent liaison with EU and EU Member States’ Institutions, defining and expressing a common position on EU issues (legislation, product specifications, trade and sustainability standards, etc.) and acting as a technology neutral platform.
The EABA considers algae and other aquatic plants to be among the most promising of renewable resources, with a wide range of applications (biofuels, nutrients, pharmaceutical products, animal feeds, etc) and that they can make a significant contribution to cutting carbon dioxide emissions. However, it is also aware of the difficulties faced in taking algae biomass solutions from the laboratory and into the market place.
During the launch of the association, some participants announced that they will be ready to apply algae biomass technologies in mass production in the near future, while others were more prudent, talking more in the long term, without setting specific deadlines. The association and its members are aware of the efforts that need to be made to analyse the technical and economic challenges facing the sector and the direct and indirect social and economic impacts on the environment of algae production and use.