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Total and Qatar University to collaborate on algae-based biofuel

France-based multinational energy giant Total has joined forces with Qatar University to establish two new research projects aimed at investigating how microalgae from Qatar can be used for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and to produce biofuel.

Both projects will be conducted at the Center for Sustainable Development at Qatar University. It is thought that algae could present a sustainable way to sequester carbon, especially as it can be cultivated on non-arable land. What’s more, it may also prove to be a sustainable source of biofuel, as well as providing the base oil for derived products, such as an industrial lubricant.

Total’s Group Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Marie-Noelle Semeria said:

“Total is investing and supporting the development of Algae with CO2 in partnership with Qatar University as we believe that Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage will leverage innovative technologies which contribute to achieve carbon neutrality in the second half of the century.”

The lead investigator for the Algal Technologies Program at Center for Sustainable Development, Hareb al-Jabri, commented that algae was a fast-moving field. He pointed out its great production potential in Qatar and how it may help make Persian Gulf state more sustainable in future by offsetting greenhouse gas emissions.

Rival energy company ExxonMobil has also been investigating the use of algae as a sustainable source of biofuel, with much of its research focusing on developing strains of algae with high yields of oil. It expects to be making 10,000 barrels a day of algae-based biofuels by 2025.

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