Completion date:

JANUARY 2017 – JUNE 2021

Project leader(s):


  • 1 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
  • 2 The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
  • 3 Seaweed Solutions
  • 4 ALGAplus Produção e Comercialização de Algas e Seus Derivados Lda
  • 5 Stichting Wageningen Research
  • 6 SINTEF Ocean
  • 7 Instituto de Ciência e Inovação em Engenharia Mecânica e Engenharia Industrial (INEGI)
  • 8 Amadéite SAS
  • 9 ALGAIA
  • 10 University of York
  • 11 Lessonia
  • 12 IOTA Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • 13 Biome Technologies plc
  • 14 Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR)
  • 15 National University of Ireland, Galway
  • 16 AquaTT UETP CLG.
  • 17 Universidade de Aveiro
  • 18 Biorenewables Development Centre Ltd
  • 19 C-Weed Aquaculture SARL

Project description:

Genetic selection project for the Biorefinery of the cultivated algae Ulva lactuca (green) and Saccharina latissima (brown)

GENIALG is the first industrial project bringing together pioneering companies in large-scale integrated European biorefineries and experts in algae cultivation, genetics and metabolomics to boost the algae industry.

GENIALG has combined available knowledge in algal biotechnology with reliable and environmentally friendly tools and methods to scale up the current small-scale algal cultivation operations.

The technical and economic feasibility of producing large and sustainable volumes of S. latissima and Ulva spp. algal biomass has been demonstrated in several European regions, in order to capitalise on the commercial potential of nutrient rich algal compounds.

Two pre-industrial algal biorefinery pilot plants have provided vital algal compounds for a wide range of products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and feed ingredients, fine and specialty chemicals, additives and blends such as gels, as well as precursors for biodegradable plastics.

GENIALG paid close attention to the environmental conditions and their associated biodiversity in algal farms to measure the impact of cultivated species and their delivery of additional services to these ecosystems.


The overall objective of the GENIALG project was to stimulate the European blue economy by designing high-yielding seaweed farming systems. GENIALG aimed to increase the production and sustainable use of two European algal species with high biomass yields: the brown alga Saccharina latissima (also known as sugar kelp) and the green alga Ulva spp. (often called sea lettuce). Different processes for the covalorisation of algal biomass were also generated to anticipate a better use of the total biomass produced.

Expected results (economic, environmental, social):

By improving the supply of high quality algal biomass, it is now possible to provide a range of algal-derived chemical compounds for existing and new applications to meet the growing market demand for natural extracts for many applications.

GENIALG has helped lead the way in the blue biotechnology sector in Europe, while addressing social acceptability and competition for maritime space.

The economic competitiveness of several European industries has been strengthened by supporting new jobs, improved skills, growth and investment in the blue economy, while ensuring environmental sustainability.

Project recognition (award, winner, etc):

GENIALG has seen the publication of numerous top-ranking scientific publications

Project perspectives:

Industrial developments on the covalorisation of these cultivated species are being set up as a result of the work carried out with some of the GENIALG consortium partners in particular.


EC Disclaimer

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme under grant agreement No 727892 (GENIALG). This output reflects the views of the author, and the Research Executive Agency (REA) cannot be held responsible for any use which might be made of the information contained therein.