Cooperation opportunities with ITC and PLOCAN

Experts in macroalgae production

In December a delegation of the Robert Boyle Institute (RBI) as a research institution in the BioEnergie Verbund e.V. traveled to Gran Canaria and La Gomera. The aim was to explore cooperation possibilities with the Spanish ITC Institute and the PLOCAN Institute as possible network partners for SEAWEED projects. The aim is to jointly develop process engineering solutions for the environmentally friendly production and utilization of macroalgae.

Experts in algae production: Visit to the ITC Institute

The ITC Institute in Las Palmas is an expert in the field of micro- and macroalgae production. Thanks to extensive technology, the employees implement the entire process of algae preparation by machine. The large-scale algae shredders and drying systems available at the institute were impressive.


Together with two other Canary Islands partner institutes, the ITC Institute built up a comprehensive algae database over the years. From this database, the Robert Boyle Institute (RBI) can be supplied with seedlings for the cultivation of high-quality macroalgae at short notice in the future.

The delegation met with decision-makers from the Canary Islands Economic Development Corporation, as well as ITC research leaders and staff, to discuss future opportunities for collaboration and network coordination. All participants agree that a global market is open for offshore macroalgae cultivation. There is still a huge need for research and development in this area.


A cooperation agreement is in preparation. It could be concluded as early as the next RBI visit and focuses on the following points:


  • RBI will set up space on the institute’s premises on a rental basis with its own demonstration containers for biohydrogen and biofuel production.
  • Leasing of office space for joint research is planned.
  • Canary Islands research funding opportunities will be explored for joint projects in macroalgae utilization.


In the technical center of the institute there are several flow basins, which comprehensively enable macroalgae cultivation under defined greenhouse conditions.


It is anticipated that from March 2022, high-value algae cultures could be grown here on behalf of RBI and prepared for use on the offshore platform. In addition to cultivation and optimization of the growth rate, the automated harvesting technology and AI image recognition for the entire cultivation will be tested and subsequently calibrated here.

Access to the research platform: Visit to the PLOCAN Institute

The PLOCAN Institute oversees the research platform of the same name, located three kilometers off the coast of Gran Canaria in a designated water management zone. The delegation presented RBI’s SEAWEED research approach to the institute. Together, the scientists explored the possibilities of research cooperation and the use of the PLOCAN platform.


Again, a cooperation agreement was suggested. This, as well as the research contract, should be concluded in February 2022. Access to the research platform and permission to use the transport logistics are necessary prerequisites for the research work the RBI.


An agreement with the fish farming cooperative working off Las Palmas is being sought regarding the installation of a smaller research platform of the Robert Boyle Institute. The aim of the different dimensions is to gain experience in different macroalgae cultures and the mutual influence of fish and macroalgae. Furthermore, contact will be established with local shipyards on Gran Canaria with the aim to use their know-how as producers for macroalgae platforms.


We are looking forward to a promising cooperation of the RBI with the Canarian partners and the support of the BioEnergie Verbund e.V.