ROBA project

On-going project



Microalgae are an excellent source of proteins for food, lipids for fuels, anti-oxidants and antimicrobials in cosmetics, pigments, a basis for organic fertilizers, novel materials and more. However, commercial cultivation still faces problems that render the process economically unfeasible for many applications. Project ROBA – Robust Algae Cultures, funded by Business Finland and part of Neste’s Veturi ecosystem, aims to tackle such bottlenecks to create robust algae cultivation system with primary focus on optimal CO2 fixation, thus contributing to climate change mitigation. VTT coordinates this project that includes also the University of Jyväskylä, Neste as well as seven innovative Finnish SMEs.



This 2-year project aims to develop intensification methods for large scale algal cultivations, that allow optimization of CO2 uptake and algal biomass production: an on-site algae pilot frame is outlined in terms of reactor design using CFD modelling, AI assisted monitoring improves robustness of the culture, algal strain engineering provides a forwarding looking way to improve cell performance,  while the project is rounded of by crude techno-economic and life cycle assessments. 


Finland has excellent knowhow to tackle the challenges in large scale algae cultures to outline a functional algae pilot design for on-site CO2 capture and product formation. ROBA establishes new collaborations between companies to explore CO2 mitigation potential and algae derived products.

The partners combine excellence and skills in bioprocess engineering, multi-product biorefinery concepts, bioreactor design, measurement technologies, process equipment development, applications from algal biostreams and more. The ROBA consortium covers the entire value chain from CO2 emitter (Neste), algal-based carbon capture (Agri-Biotech and Owatec), to nutrient (Soilfood) and water supply (Owatec) for algal bioprocess, photobioreactor design (Agri-Biotech), sensorics (Pixact, Specim and Timegate), further to harvesting of the algal biomass (Owatec) and finally applications such as fuels (Neste), food ingredients (Aircohol), organic fertilizers (Soilfood) and chemicals and polymers (Neste). 





Responsible leader: Mervi Toivari

Project manager: Dorothee Barth


University of Jyväskylä:

Pauliina Salmi