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13.09.2017, Mainz, Germany

Valuable partnership

SCHOTT and Varicon Aqua are boosting the growing algae market with photobioreactors made of glass tubes.
SCHOTT and Varicon Aqua have built a close relationship over many years of collaboration, supplying the global algae industry with highly efficient glass tubular photobioreactors. The wealth of knowledge derived from both the highly competent supplier and full system provider enables customers to decide on and develop the right photobioreactor system for their specific requirements.

The partnership between SCHOTT and Varicon Aqua is demonstrably a natural fit, combining the catalogue of experience both companies bring into play. SCHOTT manufactures technically and economically superior DURAN® borosilicate glass tubing, bends, manifolds, and couplings for photobioreactors, and Varicon Aqua are a world leader in photobioreactor design, supply and installation. All Varicon Aqua photobioreactors use SCHOTT glass tubing, providing highly functional turnkey systems to the marketplace. As part of SCHOTT and Varicon Aqua’s partnership, free technical e-books and information guides about glass tubular photobioreactors are being periodically released for customer consideration.  

“In this relatively new growth market, it is important that leading companies provide relevant technical information to current and potential photobioreactor users, that allows them to implement the best solution facing their specific requirements,” Fritz Wintersteller, Director of Business Development at SCHOTT Tubing, explains.

Joint approach allows profound decision-making

With more than 12 years of experience in the algae business, Varicon Aqua has developed photobioreactor designs at scales ranging from laboratory to fully functioning commercial production facilities. SCHOTT can look back on long-term experience in producing glass tubing for various photobioreactor solutions as well.
DURAN© tubes are able to facilitate optimum light penetration and, with their 50-year lifespan, allow for reliable and constant growth of algae species. This makes them the perfect choice for cultivation of value-added strains of algae, such as those found within the Haematococcus and Spirulina genera.
“Over the years, we have found that SCHOTT glass is the best material for constructing photobioreactors, and when combined with our design and operational know-how, it provides a great proposition to the client,” Joe McDonald, Managing Director at Varicon Aqua confirms. “Potential clients are increasingly contacting us with larger and more complex projects that require considerable integration between design, supply and implementation. This is why our relationship with SCHOTT is of the utmost importance.”
Successful cooperation

One of the results of the cooperation between the two companies’ can be found at the National Research Centre in Cairo. Varicon Aqua constructed a 4m³ pilot Phyco-Flow™ photobioreactor system – built with SCHOTT glass – that is completely process and temperature controlled, including an automated shading system. This photobioreactor is currently being used to investigate the feasibility of producing biofuels as well as food and feed from algae under Egyptian conditions. Key to this research is the profiling of suitable algae strains for a range of bulk and high value products.
DURAN® is a registered trademark of DWK Life Sciences GmbH.
SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 34 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,000 employees, sales of 1.99 billion euros were generated in fiscal year 2015/2016. The parent company, SCHOTT AG, has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.

Varicon Aqua is the manufacturer of the Phyco™ range of photobioreactors and the Cell-Hi line of algal nutrients. We are based in the UK and our team has more than 30 years’ experience designing, constructing and deploying algae photobioreactors and aquaculture production systems worldwide. We design, supply, install and commission both laboratory and industrial scale platforms for the cultivation of algae to a broad range of commercial and academic partners. To this end we employ a dedicated team of technicians, researchers, engineers and algal biologists who understand algal bioprocesses; from wastewater treatment to bulk and high value production. This unique experience gives us a competitive advantage when working with clients, allowing us to provide bespoke photobioreactor systems for a wide range of applications. We pride ourselves on our ability to support our clients from conception through commissioning and exploitation. To date we have deployed over 160 photobioreactor systems across the globe, ranging from 5 L to 400,000 L scale. All Varicon Aqua systems are built to high specifications using precision manufacturing processes. Previous installations include our bestselling manifold horizontal tubular system the BioFence™. Building from this success our current first in class system is the serpentine Phyco-Flow™. Newer developments include our vertical column photobioreactors, the Phyco-Lift and Phyco-Bubble; and our internally illuminated reactor, the Phyco-Pyxis™. In addition to photobioreactor systems we also specialise in providing the auxiliary equipment necessary for running a successful algal platform. This includes equipment for process monitoring and control, as well as apparatus for downstream processing and lighting. Furthermore, we supply a broad range of specialised Cell-Hi algae nutrient and culture media as well as concentrates, aquaculture feeds and water treatments.

Press contact
Christine Fuhr
Public Relations Manager
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4550
Further information
Salvatore Ruggiero
Vice President Marketing and Communication
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4140