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fuel from algae 'will take time to develop'

It will take over a decade for algae to emerge as a strong contender in the biofuel market, an industry expert has said.

Raffaello Garofalo, executive director of the European Algae Biomass Association, said that research into developing algae into biofuel has been increasing in the last three to five years.

However, it will take ten to 15 years for the development to really take off as it is still very expensive to make, he noted.

"There are still challenges and problems to resolve," Mr Garofalo told Reuters.

But he added that algae offered many benefits. "Algae have a potential to provide answers in this respect: There is no competition food versus energy. There is no impact on land use and algae absorb CO2 as they grow."

The European Algae Biomass Association held its first annual conference in Florence earlier this week.

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