KAUST Scientist Leads Effort to Harness the Power of Algae for Saudi Arabia

KAUST‘s Kyle Lauersen is on a mission to use algae to create a more sustainable future for Saudi Arabia.



As the leader of one of the only dedicated algal biotechnology labs in the Arabian Peninsula, Lauersen and his team are working to isolate, identify, and characterize algal species that are adapted to Saudi Arabia’s extreme temperatures. They are also developing a study program that will meet international standards in algal technology and education.


“We have probably the largest suite of bioreactors for growing algae of any academic institution in the world,” says Lauersen. “This allows us to test different strains under a variety of conditions, including continuous light, day-night cycling, and seasonal variations. This information is essential for understanding how algae can be used to clean up wastewater, produce biofuels, and create high-protein animal feed.”



Lauersen is particularly interested in the potential of algae to help Saudi Arabia meet its ambitious sustainability goals. “Algae are a renewable resource that can be grown in harsh environments,” he says. “They also have the potential to sequester carbon dioxide and produce clean water. This makes them a valuable tool for addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing the Kingdom.”



Lauersen’s work is still in its early stages, but he is confident that algae have the potential to make a significant impact on Saudi Arabia’s future. “We are at the forefront of a new field of research,” he says. “I believe that algae have the potential to revolutionize the way we produce food, energy, and water.”



In addition to his research, Lauersen is also committed to educating the next generation of bioprocess engineers. He plans to develop a study program that will teach students how to use algae to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.


“I believe that algae have the potential to change the world,” says Lauersen. “I am excited to be a part of this journey.”



Lauersen’s work is an important step towards a more sustainable future for Saudi Arabia. With his dedication and expertise, algae have the potential to play a major role in the Kingdom’s economic and environmental development.



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