Advancing marine microalgae biofuel to commercialisation


  • Muradel grows an algal strain in an open air pond that grows quickly in Australian weather conditions. Image courtesy of Whyalla News senior journalist Kayleigh Bruce.

  • The algal stock is grown in a race-track pond that continuously circulates the algae to the surface

  • Demonstration plant pond

  • Sub-critical water reactor tube processing algae to bio-crude

  • Muradel staff

  • Pictured (back, from left) ARENA chief financial officer Ian Kay, member for Giles Edie Hughes, Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock and Muradel board executive chairman Ollie Clark and (front) Muradel chief executive officer David Lewis. Image courtesy of Whyalla News senior journalist Kayleigh Bruce.

  • The paddle wheel mixer on the algae raceway pond

  • Preparation of feedstock slurry

  • A solar powered data logger, which monitors the algae pond performance

Australia and the broader global community are searching for viable, sustainable alternatives to fossil oil as future sources of liquid fuels, and to develop superior solutions to biofuels currently produced from food crops such as corn-based ethanol and biodiesel from palm oil. The aim of project was to scale-up Muradel’s marine microalgae to biofuel technology to demonstration scale and develop an investment case.

Lead organisation:
Muradel Pty Ltd
Project partners:
SQC Pty Ltd, Murdoch University, Adelaide Research & Innovation Pty Ltd
Whyalla, SA
ARENA program:
Support for advanced biofuels
Start date:
February 2012
Finish date:
June 2015

Achievements and lessons learned

Muradel was able to build and operate a demonstration scale facility to assess the commercial feasibility of converting microalgae to biocrude. Muradel successfully demonstrated that an energy positive biofuel could be produced from micoralgae and that the carbon footprint was less than the derived equivalent fuel. However biofuels could not be produced at parity with fossil fuels using microalgae as the biomass feedstock demonstrating that significant barriers exist to the economic production of algal biofuels.

A major outcome from the project was the development of Muradel’s proprietary HTL technology, which is able to transform a wide range of organic feedstocks to biofuels and specialty chemicals. Muradel’s current focus is in converting low cost feedstocks (renewable waste sources) to renewable fuels and chemicals.

More information

Contact information

Mr Ollie Clark AM, Executive Chairman, Muradel Pty Ltd
+61 8 8366 6583