The Salinalgue microalgae culture experimentation basins in Gruissan, France were inaugurated earlier this month by all of the partners in the project, including Air Liquide.

The Salinalgue experimentation basins, commissioned in October 2011, are intended to produce microalgae to recover bioenergy (biodiesel and biomethane) and other bioproducts (dyes, aquaculture feeds).

Thierry Conil, CEO of La Compagnie du Vent, Groupe GDF SUEZ, and Dominique Gruson, Director of the Air Liquide Claude-Delorme Research Centre, together with local representatives and the other partners of the project inaugurated the project on 5th April.

The aim of Salinalgue is to demonstrate that this sustainable, innovative energy production is both technically and economically feasible by studying microalgae culture in areas ranging from 1,000m2 to 10 hectares.

If the tests are conclusive, the industrial deployment could start in 2015.

Funding

Salinalgue is developed on the Gruissan salt fields in the south of France by a group of thirteen partners, mainly from the Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur regions.

“This innovative, sustainable procedure respecting the local ecosystem is fully in line with the policy of Air Liquide to play a major role in innovation in the face of energy and environmental challenges”

Dominique Gruson, Director of the Air Liquide Claude-Delorme Research Centre, Paris-Saclay

The partners in the project are: La Compagnie du Vent, Groupe GDF SUEZ, Air Liquide, IFREMER, CEA, Naskeo, IDEE aquaculture, INRIA, INRA, Avignon University, Aix- Marseille University, INSA Toulouse, la Tour du Valat and SOMEVAL.

The project also has the approval of the Trimatec, Pôle Mer PACA, Derbi and Cap Energies competitive clusters.

Salinalgue was selected after the 9th call for projects by the Fonds Unique Interministériel (FUI), which has allocated funding of €3.9m (total budget of €7.5m) financed by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, the Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes- Côte-d’Azur regions and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).

“The Salinalgue project, in which we are participating together with some well-known partners, opens the way for a new differentiating branch which will use CO2 from industry to produce tomorrow’s biofuels and bio products,” said Dominique Gruson, Director of the Air Liquide Claude-Delorme Research Centre, Paris-Saclay.

“This innovative, sustainable procedure respecting the local ecosystem is fully in line with the policy of Air Liquide to play a major role in innovation in the face of energy and environmental challenges.”