TOTALENERGIES and Veolia have teamed up to accelerate the development of microalgae cultivation using CO2, with the long-term goal of producing biofuels.
Through photosynthesis, microalgae use sunlight and CO2 – which can be either atmospheric or from industrial processes – to grow. When microalgae mature, they can be converted into next-generation biofuels with low carbon intensity. Biofuels are a “promising alternative energy that is necessary to protect the planet”, said Philippe Seberac, Technical and Scientific Director at Veolia.
The partnership will pool the companies’ know-how for a four-year research project at the La Mède biorefinery in France, operated by TotalEnergies. As part of the project, a test platform will be set up to compare different systems for growing microalgae and identify the most efficient methods.
Veolia will bring its expertise in the water sector to optimise management of the microalgae environment, as well as in developing algal biomass for carbon capture. TotalEnergies, along with the La Mede site, will bring expertise in cultivating and refining biomass to produce advanced biofuels, and in CO2 capture and use technologies.
Marie-Noëlle Semeria, Chief Technology Officer at TotalEnergies, expects that biofuels will allow TotalEnergies to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 together with society. Formerly Total, the company announced a net-zero emissions pledge for its worldwide operations in 2020.