Our society rely on fossil fuels as a source of energy for our daily lives, which are finite and emit CO2 when burned. Algae biomass is a carbon-neutral resource with high oil productivity. In addition, it demonstrates practical potential as an alternative to fossil fuels that does not compete with food resources. In recent years, possible applications of algae biomass have attracted a lot of attention in various industries including agriculture, environment, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceutical products. The efforts, though, have only just begun. To develop its potential and create a new algae industry, the R&D activities need to take an interdisciplinary approach in addition to the traditional research style focusing on biology. Moreover, establishing a center where to enhance invitation of experts in a variety of areas from home and abroad, expansion of cooperation with companies, development of cooperative relationships with international top-level researchers to conduct research on algae-based bioenergy systems, and fostering human resources is required.

To accomplish these requirements, a new research organization, the Algae Biomass Energy System Development Research Center (ABES), was established at the University of Tsukuba on July 1, 2015. As one of the largest algae biomass research centers in Japan, the center consists of more than fifty members of the university faculty. The center is composed of six research categories including Bio-Resources, Metabolic and Genetic Engineering, Production Systems Engineering, Green Chemistry, Energy Systems, and Wellness Medicine. A research promotion system has been prepared at the center to conduct fundamental research, empirical studies, and industrial applications of algae research in a consistent manner. Also, ABES was established as the first research center utilizing this system which the university introduced a new system, the System for Development Research Centers to run research organizations. The system allows the university to receive outside funding to run research organizations.

Its duties include fundamental research and empirical studies on algae biomass and applications of the research for industry. The final objective of the center is to put algae-derived oil into practical use and to create a new algae industry.

For industrial applications of algae research, ABES intends to promote to develop an algae-based biofuel production system, an algae-based wastewater treatment system, the production of livestock feed from algae, and the application of algae-derived oil for cosmetics and medical products. Furthermore, ABES intends to invite top-level researchers from abroad and to enhance development of human resources by conferring degrees on highly motivated students from all over the world.


Organizational Structure




  • Realm of Bioresource
  • Realm of Metabolic and Genetics Engineering
  • Realm of Production System Engineering
  • Realm of Green Chemistry
  • Realm of Energy System
  • Realm of Health and Medicine


  • Master’s/Doctoral Program in Life Science Innovation, University of Tsukuba
  • Super Global High School (Ibaraki Prefectural Tsuchiura First High School)
  • International Cooperation


  • Tsukuba International Strategic Zone
  • Tohoku Recovery Next-Generation Energy Research and Development Project
  • Fukushima Prefecture Next-Generation Renewable Energy Technology Development Project
  • Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SPI) Technologies for creating next- generation agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Joint R&D

  • Algae Industry Incubation Industry Consortium
  • Sobio Technologies Inc

Industrial Application

  • White Bio(biofuels, lubicants, surfactant, bioplastics, paints, fibers, etc)
  • Red Bio(drugs, nutraceuticals,suppliments, cosmetics, etc)
  • Green Bio (agricultural produce, feed, fertilizer, waste water treatment, etc)



Academic Network

  • Tohoku University
  • National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
  • National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)
  • HTK(Hiroshima University, Kobe University, and University of Tsukuba)

International Network

  • Murdoch University (Australia)
  • University of California, San Diego (US)
  • Arizona State University (US)
  • University of Nantes (France)
  • The Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) (Thailand)
  • Vinh University(Vietnam)
  • Asia Oceania Algae Innovation Summit (AOAIS)
  • International Symposium on Algae Biomass (ISAB

Regional Network

  • Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture
  • Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
  • Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture

Industry Network

  • Algae Industry Incubation Consortium, Japan
  • Sobio Technologies Inc
  • Higashimaru Co. Ltd,