Success in massive scale algae cultivation for Biofuel


Tokyo, May 21, 2015 – IHI Corporation (Pres.: Tamotsu Saito), Kobe University (Pres.: Hiroshi Takeda), and Chitose Laboratory Corporation (CEO: Tomohiro Fujita) have succeeded in stably cultivating algae in 1,500 square meter open pond in Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Japan. New Energy Industrial Technology Development Organization, NEDO (Pres.: Kazuo Furukawa) is supporting the project. This success marks an important milestone that pave the way for the algae-based biofuel as industry.

Cultivation in an open pond of 1,500 square meter

Since 2012, IHI Corporation, Kobe University, and Chitose Laboratory Corporation started R&D to produce algae-based biofuel with the support of NEDO, using hyper-growth Botryococcus Braunii *. The strain of algae is uniquely featured with exceptionally high growth rate and is able to produce high hydrocarbon content. The improved strain allows for large colony size and better floating performance, attributes designed to ultimately reduce production costs. The group has a track record of stable cultivation of the algae in a 100 square meter open pond since 2013


Algae and oil seeping out from algae


100 square meter open pond(IHI Yokohama)






We succeeded in cultivating the algae with 1,500 square meter open pond, using sun light as the sole energy source without feeding sugar. This achievement is a big progress toward commercialization.

The group is rigorously developing technology to reduce the production cost and to optimize the all through the process for algae-based biofuel. And the mass production technology demonstrated at Kagoshima will be applied to commercial production processes overseas.

* Hyper-growth Botryococcus  is the strain of algae owned by Gene and Gene Technology Corporation Limited (CEO: Takeru Enomoto) founded by Taira Enomoto, a professor at Kobe University. Gene and Gene Technology Corporation Limited, IHI Corporation and Chitose Laboratory Corporation established IHI NeoG Algae LLC. (Representative partner: Tomohiro Fujita, Tsutomu Narikiyo ), and started the R&D since 2011.



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