Algae as a turbocharger

They are teeny tiny but they have enormous strength: microalgae are considered a sustainable raw material and energy supplier of the future. In photobioreactors made of glass tubing, the microscopic organisms can grow to incredible sizes, thanks to optimal light penetration and protection from impurities and contamination.

They are teeny tiny but they have enormous strength: microalgae are considered a sustainable raw material and energy supplier of the future. In photobioreactors made of glass tubing, the microscopic organisms can grow to incredible sizes, thanks to optimal light penetration and protection from impurities and contamination.

Challenge

Microalgae are in fact truly multi-talented. Their metabolic products are used as ingredient supplements, for human food and animal feed, impart medications and cosmetic properties and can even be used to clean up wastewater. Because algae uses light as an energy source and converts carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, they form a biomass. This process is five times more efficient than that of terrestrial plants.

A market with a bright future

This biomass is primarily of interest from an industrial point of view because of the proteins, lipids, pigments, antioxidants, acids, and several other valuable elements within them. There are over a hundred thousand types of algae that have been identified to date, but only about two dozen are used today in industrial cultivation.
And that is precisely the beauty of it.

This biomass is primarily of interest from an industrial point of view because of the proteins, lipids, pigments, antioxidants, acids, and several other valuable elements within them. There are over a hundred thousand types of algae that have been identified to date, but only about two dozen are used today in industrial cultivation.
And that is precisely the beauty of it.

Innovation

Many ways to harvest algae

Cultivating them in open ponds seems to offer a promising amount of masses. However, it leaves the micro-organisms exposed to elements with no protection. In contrast, when algae are contained in closed photobioreactors, they are protected. This is where systems made of DURAN® glass tubing are better suited because they are more stable and easier to clean than plastic tubing. They bring the light algae needs to achieve optimal growth.

Cultivating them in open ponds seems to offer a promising amount of masses. However, it leaves the micro-organisms exposed to elements with no protection. In contrast, when algae are contained in closed photobioreactors, they are protected. This is where systems made of DURAN® glass tubing are better suited because they are more stable and easier to clean than plastic tubing. They bring the light algae needs to achieve optimal growth.

A 7-day harvest cycle

 

Algae needs (sun)light, carbon dioxide and nutrients to grow. Photobioreactors provide the optimal conditions. In closed DURAN® systems it takes only seven days to harvest. This kind of yield has even the experts in awe.

CO2
Carbon dioxide
Sunlight
O2
Oxygen
Biomass

Algae need (sun) light, carbon dioxide and nutrients to grow. Photobioreactors provide the optimal conditions.

People

Dr. Haraldur Garðarsson, quality control manager from Algalif, a microalgae ingredient supplier from Iceland, discusses the benefits of glass systems for algae cultivation.

Next

Algae as a multi-talent

The victory lap for microalgae has already begun. Several more applications are now possible. Today in the US, photobioreactors are already being used in the treatment of wastewater. Austria is home to the largest production of Omega 3 fatty acids – purely from algae. And it is very likely that tomorrow’s automobiles will be running on green biofuels.

Let SCHOTT help you achieve the perfect environment for new algae wonders.

What’s your next
milestone?

Contact

Jasmin Rügamer
Tubing
SCHOTT AG

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