Company History

  • 1989

    • A4F management team members start research activities in microalgae biotechnology, at ESB-UCP.

  • 1997

    • A4F Founding Partners start producing and selling microalgae, in Olhão, Portugal.

  • 2006

    • The idea for establishing a technology-based company is born. A4FAlgafuel S.A., dedicated to large-scale microalgae production units, covering all aspects from photobioreactors systems, to raw materials and downstream processing, namely to produce biofuels from microalgae.

  • 2007

    • The first commercial project starts with SECIL Cement Company. Included in SECIL’s policy for actively reducing carbon footprint, A4F screened native microalgae in two locations in Portugal where SECIL has production units – Outão and Pataias.
    • BES Innovation award: A4F-Algafuel business idea, concept and plan awarded 1st prize of the 2nd Concurso Nacional de Inovação BES Innovation - Renewable Energy.

    • First funded project approval under the scope of NEOTEC – New Technological Based Companies – National Program.

  • 2008

    • A4F – Algafuel S.A. is established.


    • Project kick-off for GALP ENERGIA for exploring the economic viability to produce Biofuels from Microalgae.

    • Project kick-off with SECIL: microalgae biomass for flue gas treatment and CO2 sequestration. The project is the first prototype of an integrated reactor intended to provide proof of concept for the capture CO2 from a cement works, which is then used to promote the growth of algae in reactors. The unique feature of this project is that the technology can be adapted to any industry where CO2 needs to be captured. The algae are then used to produce fuel.

  • 2009

    • Installation of an R&D unit, in Pataias Cement factory - UPPM.

    • UPPM - Microalgae Production Prototype Unit: 0.15 ha / ≈20 m3.

    • European Environmental Press Silver Award Jury, 2009 (More Info).
    • QREN Project: ALGAPLEX - Mixotrophic microalgae growth (Oct 2009 – Oct 2011).

  • 2010

    • Study for Algae Innovation Centre for INCROPS, UK.
    • European Research FP7: GIAVAP - Genetic modification of marine or freshwater algae to better suit industrial applications (Nov 2010 – Nov 2013).
    • European Research FP7: AQUAFUELS - Exploitation of various algal and another suitable non-food aquatic biomasses for 2nd generation biofuels production (Jan  2010 – Jul 2011).
    • ALGAFARM construction starts - With UPPM as production trial, ALGAFARM was designed for high quality and food grade microalgae production, on an industrial scale (1 ha;  more than 1.300 m3).

  • 2011

    • Installation of A4F’s Lisbon Innovation Laboratory (LIL).

    • European Research FP7: BIOFAT - Biofuels from microalgae (Apr 2011 – Apr 2016).

  • 2012

    • Feasibility study for Beaatech, for a large-scale facility in Saudi Arabia.
    • Algafarm construction works completion - a commercial production unit of high-quality microalgae for food and feed applications (1 ha;  more than 1.300 m3). A4F starts operating the production unit and provides training to the team responsible for operating and maintaining the infrastructures.
    • European Research FP7: PHOTO.COMM - Photosynthetic communities in industrial cultivation (Oct 2012 – Oct 2016).
    • European Research FP7: ProEcoWine - Plant protection products from microalgae (Nov 2012 – Nov 2014).
    • European Research FP7: DEMA - Direct bioethanol from microalgae (Dez 2012 – Jun 2017).

  • 2013

    • A4F rebranding to A4F – Algae for Future

    • 1st LiMBAC Course, organized by A4F - Lisbon Microalgae Biotechnology Advanced Course was created to familiarize participants with advanced concepts of microalgae cultivation processes, from lab to large-scale cultivation, and downstream processing, and to present lectures that cover the whole value chain of microalgae market.

      Establishment of Allma, Lda. (Joint venture with SECIL) - Launch of the brand Allma, for commercialization of the biomass produced at Algafarm plant. Chlorella by Allma as flagship product.

    • Installation of A4F’s Lisbon Experimental Unit.


    • European Research FP7: PUFAChain - Developing a pipeline of PUFA-derived products from several species of microalgae (Nov 2013 – Nov 2017).
    • European Research FP7: D-Factory - Cultivation and biorefinery for Dunaliella (Dec 2013 – Dec 2017).
    • QREN Project: INOVLAB - Optimization of applied analytical methods to microalgae culture routines and processing (Oct 2013 – Oct 2014).

  • 2014

    • ALGAFARM full scale-up and operation.


    • Construction of BIOFAT Cascade Raceway: 0.5 ha.

    • GENOMIA FUND: AlgaeEcoID - Isolate, cultivate, and characterize the pathogens of the green microalgae Haematococus and Chlorella (Mar 2014 – Mar 2015).
    • EABA - Vítor Verdelho, A4F’s Member of the Board,  elected President of European Algae Biomass Association (EABA). Link

  • 2015

    • European Research HORIZON 2020: ALFF - The Algal Microbiome Friends and Foes (Jan 2015 – Jan 2019).
    • Project kick-off with MASCIR Foundation: 2000 m2 and 6 m3, in Morocco.

      Design of a pilot scale unit for the production of microalgae, with open and closed systems, to be installed in Morocco.

    • ALGAFARM project conclusion and transfer to SECILProduction unit and commercial brand transferred to the customer.
    • European Research HORIZON 2020: PHOTOFUEL - Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon energy system (May 2015 – May 2019).

  • 2016

    • Partnership with Cambridge University – Algae Innovation Centre - Close collaboration to develop R&D projects, experiments and joint workshops, towards the common goal of developing and disseminating basic and applied knowledge in microalgae production on a pilot scale.
    • Partnership with LusoAmoreiras and Solvay Group.

      A4F invited LusoAmoreiras and Solvay Group for the joint development of the largest microalgae park in Europe. The ALGATEC Eco Business Park takes advantage of an excellent geographical location in Europe, as well as the availability of raw materials, to welcome microalgae projects, promoting the innovation and the sustainable economic development, based on synergies between the promoters and the industrial surroundings.

    • Commercial projects with LusoAmoreiras that decides to invest in BIOFAT.PT project. The BIOFAT.PT project, through a microalgae biorefinery approach, aims to produce microalgae for biofuels and added value products.

    • Project kick-off with Qatar University

      Design and manufacture of a pilot Cascade Raceway to install in Qatar University.

    • 2nd LiMBAC Course, organized by A4F - Lisbon Microalgae Biotechnology Advanced Course.
    • EABA - Vítor Verdelho, A4F’s Member of the Board, re-elected President of European Algae Biomass Association (EABA). Link

  • 2017

    • European Research HORIZON 2020: ABACUS - Algae for a biomass applied to the production of added value compounds (Mar 2017 – Mar 2021).


    • Nordic Centre of Excellence R&D Project NordAqua - NordAqua combines research and industrial partners from Nordic countries to achieve competitive blue economy solutions. NordAqua focus is to improve the industrial applications for algae and microalgae in Nordic countries.
    • Signature of agreement as industrial microalgae production technology and expertise partner in ALGATEC – Eco Business Park - ALGATEC is an Eco Business Park designed to welcome entrepreneurial companies and projects in the algae and microalgae sector. A4F’s role is in charge of the technology supply, scientific support, and managing the site.
    • Signature of agreement between Águas do Tejo Atlântico (AdTA) and A4F.

      A4F signed a collaboration agreement with Águas do Tejo Atlântico (from Águas de Portugal Group), a reference company within the water sector in Portugal, for the development of innovative projects that integrate wastewater treatment with microalgae and energy production.

    • Project kick-off with ALGAE TAGUS: 1000 m2 area, in Portugal (ALGATEC - Eco Business Park).

      Private investor in a micro-farming unit design, built and operated by A4F, for multi-species microalgae production.

    • Portugal 2020 Technological Research and Development Incentive System (SI I&DT): ARA.FARM - demonstration project for the industrial production of Arachidonic acid from microalgae.

  • 2018

    • Partnership with the University of Cambridge - Registration of A4F’s Lisbon Experimental Unit on Pilots4U platform (April 2018) - Pilots4U is a platform where companies can register their pilot scale and demonstration scale infrastructures so that they can be contacted by other institutions that need these type of infrastructures to scale-up their projects.
    • A4F becomes a member of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) (September 2018) - BIC is a members and industry driven organisation dedicated to innovation and to bring bio-based products and materials to market through the Bio-based Industries.
    • EABA – Vítor Verdelho, A4F’s Member of the Board, is appointed as General Manager of European Algae Biomass Association.

  • 2019

    - A4F becomes a member of BlueBio Alliance (april 2019) – BlueBio Alliance is a national platform for the marine bioresources and blue biotechnology sectors, bringing together Portuguese companies in a  knowledge and business network and linking academic research to companies.

    - Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalization P2020: EXTRATOTECA - Microalgae Extracts for High Value Products

    The EXTRATOTECA project will be the starting point to create a microalgae and cyanobacteria ‘extract bank’ with worldwide relevance.

    (Maio 2019 a Maio 2022)

    - A4F becomes a member of CoLAB BIOREF – The Collaborative Laboratory BIOREF is a private non-profit association that brings together nine entities from the Portuguese National Scientific and Technological System and eleven companies keen to look for new biomass-based advanced processes and technologies for investing into marketable products. CoLAB BIOREF aims to contribute to a low carbon and/or zero carbon economy for Portugal (Horizon 2030), generating new value chains, creating skilled employment and boosting the national bio-economy.

    - 3rd LiMBAC Course, organized by A4F - Lisbon Microalgae Biotechnology Advanced Course.

    - 1st fase installationatIstitutoSpallanzaniMultilayer Horizontal Tubular Photobioreactorwith 500 L capacity, thermoregulationsystemand outdoor lighting.

  • 2020

    Apr 2020

    • ALGAREF proposes to demonstrate the economic and environmental sustainability of an innovative, pre-industrial, microalgae biorefinery unit. It intends to do so by installing a microalgae biomass processing unit for the production of several added-value products.


    May 2020

    • MULTI-STR3AM aims to provide microalgae added-value products for the food, feed and fragrance industries. Through a multi-species and multi-product biorefinery, the project proposes to increase scale, reduce costs and stimulate the global process sustainability.