Under the Biofuels Obligation Scheme in Ireland, the biofuels penetration rate target for 2013 was set at 6% by volume from a previous 4% from 2010. In 2012 the fuel blend reached 3%, with approximately 70 million L of biodiesel and 56 million L of ethanol blended with diesel and gasoline, respectively. Up to and including April 2013, the current blend rate in Ireland for biodiesel was 2.3% and for bioethanol was 3.7% which equates to approximately 37.5 million L of biofuel for the first four months of 2013. The target of 10% by 2020 remains, which equates to approximately 420 million L yr−1
. Achieving the biofuels target would require 345 ktoe by 2020 (14,400 TJ). Utilizing the indigenous biofuels in Ireland such as tallow, used cooking oil and oil seed rape leaves a shortfall of approximately 12,000 TJ or 350 million L (achieving only 17% of the 10% target) that must be either be imported or met by other renewables. Other solutions seem to suggest that microalgae (for biodiesel) and macroalgae (for bioethanol) could meet this shortfall for indigenous Irish production. This paper aims to review the characteristics of algae for biofuel production based on oil yields, cultivation, harvesting, processing and finally in terms of the European Union (EU) biofuels sustainability criteria, where, up to 2017, a 35% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction is required compared to fossil fuels. From 2017 onwards, a 50% GHG reduction is required for existing installations and from 2018, a 60% reduction for new installations is required.