NATO backs Serbian researchers developing production of fuel from algae

Photo courtesy: Varicon Aqua
Aug 17, 2017
Researchers from Belgrade’s Institute for Multidisciplinary Research are the first in the world working on developing a cutting-edge technology to produce biofuel from algae.

Eight Serbian scientists, in cooperation with Manchester University in the United Kingdom and Baylor University in Texas, US, are leading a research project to develop the commercial production of algae biofuel. Team leader Ivan Spasojevic explains that this innovative idea has originated from Belgrade and that this is a pioneering experiment on a global level.  

"Serbia currently produces biofuel only from crops, such as corn and wheat, so I expect that our results will encourage the development of green technologies in the energy sector, which is important for a country that is candidate to join the European Union. Successful completion of this project will, I believe, make it possible for fuel prices to drop by 1/5 in the next five years and I hope we will be on Wikipedia", explains Spasojevic. 

The three year research project at the University of Novi Sad and Nis is supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. "The project gives us exactly what we need, equipment and supplies and scholarships for the most gifted young researchers who remain in the country thanks to that”, says Spasojevic adding that he expects support from the Serbian authorities to solve the problem of the lack of working space for the Institute. 

The Chief of the NATO Office in Belgrade BG Cesare Marinelli explains that since 2007 Serbia has been involved in several NATO SPS activities, including in defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents, counter-terrorism, and issues related to the role of women in peace and security. "We have great experience with our Serbian partners who are engaged on several important projects. So far NATO SPS projects have helped produce seismic charts for the Western Balkan countries, improve the protection of the Sava river water resources, and Serbian and German scientists, for example, are working on developing a decontamination and demining robot called T-Whex”, explains Marinelli, inviting the country’s research centers to apply for research in areas such as cyber defense, energy security, etc.   

In addition to the SPS Programme, NATO countries have invested over 15 million Euros in several trust funds which are helping Serbia safely destroy weapons, landmines and ammunition, and retrain military personnel for civilian jobs.