Innovation in algae cultivation

Bert Lemmens, WP1 Leader, VITO

Over the last 18 months Fitoplancton Marino have proven in this project that they can deliver high quality algae to the partners on time. They have also generated interesting results in the development of molecular methods to control cultivation conditions in order to maximize the production of the desired component.

The characterization of the CO2 sorbents showed that several have a good sorption capacity. Co-adsorption of water is an important focal point to limit energy costs for regeneration.  The stability of the promising sorbents was examined under different conditions and showed that this is an important parameter for further optimization.


Figure 1 - CO2 adsorption capacity of treating in dry air as a function of temperature and time

The foam bed reactor was optimised and a simple method for foam break-up was identified. The tests on toxicity for the algae and the foaming properties showed none of the foaming agents to be usable for large scale production. Research on selection of suitable foaming agents will be intensified.

Different membrane materials were screened for both algae filtration as well as polishing of the supernatant of the centrifuge. The results show that the selection of membrane material and pore size is dependent on algae type. The filtration technique for  algae and supernatant will be different. Both systems will be further tested in the project. Cultivation tests on recycled, filtered medium have shown no reduction in algal growth. 


Figure 2 - CO2 adsorption capacity of sorbent treated in dry air, 80% CO2 or N2 at different temperatures

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