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Oman forays into microalgae farming to produce biofuel

9 Jun 2024 Oman forays into microalgae farming to produce biofuel By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The sultanate is poised to exploit the global algae biofuel market, valued at US$8.38bn in 2022, with a project to produce over 3,700 tonnes of microalgae per annum in several governorates.

A memorandum of understanding towards this end was signed last week between NTZ Solutions, Al Tharmad Business and Services, and Green Gulf Industries to set up commercial-scale farms – spread over 20,000sqm – with a total investment of RO9mn. 

Facilitated by Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, the project aims to use photobioreactor technology to produce specific strains of microalgae that are used in production of biodiesel.

Sharifa Aidid, Chairperson and Founder NTZ Solutions

“The use of photobioreactor technology significantly increases production rate to a commercial scale. In addition, it massively reduces water consumption and maintains the highest quality standards,” Sharifa Aidid, Chairperson and Founder NTZ Solutions, posted on LinkedIn. 

According to Sharifa, with its geographical location, the sultanate has all the factors conducive for the success of microalgae production projects. “Microalgae is the only renewable source to produce biodiesel sustainably. Also, microalgae production is considered one of the most effective approaches to valorising CO2, using it in the production process. This contributes to the efforts of combating global warming.” 

Mazin al Saadi, CEO of Al Tharmad, added that biodiesel produced from microalgae at this commercial scale is an excellent opportunity to aid other industries in their decarbonatisation efforts. He also pointed out that after extraction of biofuel, the remaining biomass can be used to produce bioplastic.

Elaborating on the project, Luigi Monfardini, Business Development Manager at Green Gulf Industries, said, “We will use a patented photobioreactor technology and algae with higher oil content allowing us to maximise biofuel production. It will be the first biofuel plant of its kind in the Middle East.”

The project will include development of photobioreactors, algae processing facilities, laboratories and storage silos.

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