NCKU working to expand commercial applications of microalgae

New technology with micro-algae allows the production of biodiesel, reduction of CO2 levels of industry and firming of the skin

A team from National Cheng Kung University is conducting research on the potential commercial applications of microalgae, including the production of biodiesel and skin care products.

The team, led by chemical engineering professor Chang Chia-hsiu, has established a platform to determine the species and analyze the content of microalgae. It has also developed an outdoors microalgae cultivation system. According to Chang, Taiwan’s rich microalgae resources give it a great advantage in developing a microalgae industry. He said the industry can be very helpful in reducing carbon levels because algae captures carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.

Every 1 gram of microalgae grown by the team, for example, can consume 2 grams of carbon dioxide, he said. The team has cultivated microalgae using heat extracted from chimneys, he said, explaining that microalgae grown in this method can endure high temperatures. Also, the team has developed a technology that allows for wet processing of microalgae into biodiesel, which helps save drying costs, he said. Microalgae extract, meanwhile, can promote cell restoration and cohesion, making it a perfect ingredient for health food and skin care products, Chang said.

Source: NCKU, press release, 2012-08-02.