Press Releases

06.07.2017, Mainz, Germany

More microalgae: SCHOTT equips Europe’s largest algae-based omega-3 production facility with glass tubes

Microalgae manufacturer ecoduna has selected SCHOTT’s glass tubes for a new photobioreactor (PBR) facility in Vienna, Austria that will be Europe’s largest plant dedicated to the harvest of omega-3 fatty acids from microorganisms.
Model of Europe's largest plant dedicated to the harvest of omega-3 fatty acids from microorganisms. Photo: ecoduna
Model of Europe's largest plant dedicated to the harvest of omega-3 fatty acids from microorganisms. Photo: ecoduna
ecoduna selected SCHOTT after a successful 18-month test of DURAN® glass tubes in ecoduna’s first vertical PBR plant. When the time came to build the new facility, ecoduna turned to SCHOTT to deliver several hundred thousand units that can hold more than 780,000 liters of photoactive volume. In all, the facility will produce 100 tons of algae annually.

eparella, a subsidiary of ecoduna, will operate the sustainable 2.5-acre plant. It is scheduled to be built this year using 143 miles of glass tubing, enough to nearly stretch across Austria. Production will start in 2018.
In vertical PBRs, algae are grown in transparent tubes filled with water and nutrients to fuel photosynthesis. ecoduna produces and harvests different algae such as chlorella or spirulina for use as food supplements, cosmetics ingredients, animal food and feed, biofuel, fertilizer, and even as pharmaceutical components. The market volume of algae production has already exceeded $1 billion and continues to grow.

Omega-3 fatty acids are one driver of that growth. They’re considered important for brain health, but they cannot be produced by the human body. They must be found in food, but the most common sources, such as oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are prone to overfishing. By growing omega-3 fatty acids in algae, ecoduna helps take pressure off of fish populations and provides a cost-efficient source of this crucial nutrient.

As manufacturers of PBRs hone the technology, they increasingly convert their facilities from plastic to glass. Glass’s cleanability, strength, and clarity improve output and lower costs. Companies expect to replace plastic tubes and panels every few years, while glass can last longer than five decades. In the long run, glass tubing is more cost effective.

“The transition from plastic to glass was an important step for our company,” says Silvia Fluch, Chief Operating Officer, ecoduna. “The use of recyclable glass in our manufacturing plant perfectly fits our idea of being sustainable and protecting our environment and nature.”

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 $2.21 billion were generated in fiscal year 2015/2016.
Press contact
Christina Rettig
Public Relations Manager
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4094
Further information
Salvatore Ruggiero
Vice President Marketing and Communication
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4140
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