Cutting edge green research in the City of Cities

Centre of excellence in Herne seeks to find the key to the energy generation process of tomorrow – using algae

When asked why she researches algae in Herne of all places, rather than by the sea, the young researcher smiles. ‘We work with fresh water algae, which are found everywhere – in aquariums, in lakes and in the pond in your garden.’ Dr Christina Marx, the head of SolarBioproducts Ruhr at the IGZ Herne innovation and start-up centre, adds: ‘But there is one big advantage of us working here: we have brought together the best algae researchers in the world.’ Among them is Prof. Thomas Happe, head of the photo-biotechnology working group at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), which works in partnership with SolarBioproducts Ruhr.

This scientific exchange could hold the key to the energy generation method of tomorrow – algae.

Dr Christina Marx, head of SolarBioproducts Ruhr

At present, Dr Marx is conducting a feasibility study. Her aim is to soon establish a centre of excellence for algae and biotechnology, putting Herne firmly on the map as a research location. And the odds look good: SolarBioproducts Ruhr has its own office at WFG Herne business development and is being backed financially by the city of Herne.

German-Chinese algae bioenergy laboratory to be established

Renewable energies are in demand all over the world, not just in Germany. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting a joint research project between the Ruhr University Bochum and the Institute for Bioenergy and Biotechnology (QIBEBT) in Qingdao, in which SolarBioproducts Ruhr will also play a significant role. The goal of the project conducted by this German-Chinese laboratory is to generate renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources from algae, studying the algae-based production of both biodiesel and hydrogen. For Dr Marx, this is an extremely exciting project with enormous potential for innovation, as both sides have a significant interest in advancing their expertise in the greentech sector and harnessing that expertise in cooperation with industry. ‘This scientific exchange could hold the key to the energy generation method of tomorrow– algae.’