The government will be funding research on photosynthesis and using plants and algae for energy to the tune of 25 million euros. Wageningen is on board.
The funding is for a research programme called Towards Biosolar cells, involving six universities, thirty companies and NWO. From Wageningen UR, Professors Herbert van Amerongen (artificial leaves) and René Wijffels (algae) are involved.
The research programme aims to contribute to sustainable energy, improved food production and sustainable biomass.
The programme has three parts:
1. Raising the photosynthetic efficiency of plants. This makes it possible to produce more biomass per hectare for energy or food.
2. The direct production of biofuels without having to harvest the biomass (plants). Results include photosynthetic cyanobacteria or algae that produce butanol.
3. Combining natural and technical components. For example in a solar panel that generates fuel rather than electricity.
The Wageningen trial reactor for producing algae is likely to be part of the research programme. (www.resource.wur.nl/achtergrond.php?id=189) The participants in the consortium will first have to agree on the division of the subsidy over the various components. They are expected to do this by early October.