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On Friday, 23 March, the University of Amsterdam will open the first Photanol test production plant. The facility’s purpose is to test and design the best mass production method for the new biofuel Photanol.

On Friday, 23 March, the University of Amsterdam will open the first Photanol test production plant. The facility’s purpose is to test and design the best mass production method for the new biofuel Photanol.

The basic principle behind Photanol – developed by two UvA professors – is fundamentally different compared to other biofuels. Scaling up from laboratory to mass production is often problematic with biofuels. With the establishment of the Photanol Pilot Plant, larger quantities of this scientific discovery can be tested, optimised and diversified.

The technology used for creating Photanol differs significantly from other forms of biofuel production. It is much more efficient, for example, than biofuel production using plants or large-scale cultivation of algae. This offers a number of advantages: cells to not have to be harvested, no other raw materials are needed and the system uses only CO2 and sunlight. The production system also requires no farmland and therefore does not compete with food crops like other biofuel processes do.

The Photanol principle was devised by UvA professors Klaas Hellingwerf and Joost Teixeira de Mattos. Thanks to their expertise in microbiology, they were able to develop an extremely efficient, clean and sustainable process. They took blue algae, a single cell organism that uses sunlight and CO2 in the same manner as plants, and enabled it to convert sugar into ethanol, lactic acid, and many other products when provided with sunlight and CO2. It has already been demonstrated that this system works (proof of concept) and that it could be economically feasible (proof of principle).

Pilot Plant opening and location

The opening of the Photanol Pilot Plant will take place at the greenhouse complex at Science Park 904, Amsterdam. The official ceremony will begin at 10:00. Please note that attendance at the opening is by invitation only.

Photanol BV was established in 2008 by UvA Holding in cooperation with the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, and the Molecular Microbial Physiology research group of professors Klaas Hellingwerf and Joost Teixeira de Mattos.