Innovation That Matters

Wooden motorcycle

Wooden motorcycle designed to run on algae oil


Dutch duo develop a wooden the bike as part of a project on environmentally friendly fuels.

Designer Ritsert Mans and scientist Peter Mooij from the Netherlands have built a motorcycle frame entirely from wood, which is powered by an engine designed to run on an algae-based fuel. The pair came together to work on Mooij’s book, De Dikke Alg (The Thick Algae), which puts across the theory that in the future algae could be used as an environmentally friendly fuel source. Considering the high costs involved with manufacturing the fuel, it’s believed that it could be a number of years before the algae is able to be grown in significant numbers to lower the price.

This isn’t the first time that algae has been used to fuel a motorcycle. Devin Chatterjie from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography powered one running on 100% algae crude diesel fuel to a speed of 96.2mph (145kmph) in 2012. As far as we know though, this is the first time that algae fuel has been used on an homemade vehicle built from natural materials.

Environmental scientists have been using algae for years to create a wide range of eco-friendly inventions. These range from trainers made from algae harvested from waste streams, to a virtual reality experience where agar agar – a jelly-like substance made from Algae – is transformed to taste like almost any food you can imagine. As more and more uses are found for algae, could we see it becoming a more familiar product in our day-to-day lives?



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