LIFE Project Cover Photo


Reference: LIFE17 ENV/LT/000407 | Acronym: AlgaeService for LIFE



Massive growth of macroalgae or cyanobacteria caused by human activity is the first sign that a water body is deteriorating. Algae form spatially large mats that can choke water bodies, clog pipes, and block light from reaching aquatic plants, leading to the loss of ecosystem balance and biodiversity. Decaying algae mats use up all available oxygen in water, promote secondary contamination and cause an offensive smell, if washed ashore. Harmful cyanobacteria blooms pose an even more significant threat to water quality and peoples livelihoods (fishing, tourism, shipping etc.). Cyanobacteria produce toxins that can cause skin irritation, seriously harm the human liver, digestive and nervous systems and potentially be fatal.

If harvested, such material could be used to make biofuel, bioplastics, fertilisers and other useful things. However, currently commercially available mechanical harvesters are not effective at collecting algae biomass agglomerations (mats and scums).


AlgaeService for LIFE will test two prototype algae and cyanobacteria harvesting machines in real-world conditions on rivers, lakes and the Curonian Lagoon. The collected material will be used to produce biogas, fertilisers and other products on a small-scale. The project will write a business plan for commercial development.

The proposed harvesting of proliferating cyanobacteria and macroalgae species will help to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore degraded aquatic ecosystems, thus contributing to the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. This circular economy project will address integrated management of nutrients and organic pollution caused by agriculture, and suggest measures needed at river basin or catchment scale to achieve the goals of the Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Nitrates, Bathing Waters and Drinking Water Directives. AlgaeService for LIFE will also reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, thereby contributing to the implementation of international commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Expected results:

  • Two prototype macro-algae and cyanobacteria harvesting machines manufactured and tested for 500 hours in real-world conditions on various aquatic ecosystems;
  • Upto 72.8 tonnes of macro-algae biomass and 7.8 tonnes of cyanobacteria collected;
  • A validated methodology for harvesting algae agglomerations in inland aquatic ecosystems, using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or satellite images;
  • Guidelines for refining monitoring of inland water bodies, including new solutions for migration of nutrient from non-controllable sources in the catchment;
  • Biogas successfully produced from cyanobacteria and macro-algae, both alone and combined with other biodegradable biomass;
  • Validation of the harvested materials suitability for use as slow-release fertilisers and growth activity promoters for plants;
  • Identification and validation of market-friendly products madefrom the harvested biomass;
  • Development of a business plan for macro-algae and cyanobacteria, covering the entire supply chain;
  • Evaluation of the ecosystem service costs and benefits from harvesting and using this material and assessment of the socio-economic effects of improved water quality (less nitrogen, phosphorous and cyanotoxins in aquatic ecosystems);
  • Increased public awareness on eutrophication, algal blooming and sustainable use of this biomass;
  • A strategy for replication and transfer of the projects prototypes, technical knowledge and outcomes.


    Reference: LIFE17 ENV/LT/000407
    Acronym: AlgaeService for LIFE
    Start Date: 01/08/2018
    End Date: 30/11/2023
    Total Eligible Budget: 3,656,184 €
    EU Contribution: 2,193,710 €
    Project Location: Lithuania, Greater Poland Voivodeship and Lesser Poland Voivodeship in Poland


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Nature Research Centre
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: Akademijos Str. 2, 08412, Lithuania Lietuva
    Contact Person: Judita KOREIVIENE
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Water quality improvement
    • Renewable energies


    • agricultural method
    • aquatic ecosystem
    • environmentally friendly product
    • water quality
    • biomass energy
    • renewable energy
    • fertiliser


    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
    • Directive 2006/32/EC - Energy end-use efficiency and energy services (05.04.2006)


    Name Type
    Nature Research Centre Coordinator
    Institute of Nature Conservation Polish Academy of Sciences-Poland Participant
    Nature Heritage Fund Lithuania Participant
    Joint Stock Company SPILA-Lithuania Participant
    Joint Stock Company Baltic Environment Lithuania Participant
    Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan-Poland Participant