SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2016 > Focus / Science
Light is energy. This can be directly observed in the growth of microalgae in photobioreactors. The harvests increase significantly when glass tubing from SCHOTT is used.
Microalgae offer the industry an interesting future market. These green unicellular organisms can convert light into biomass five times more efficiently than land plants. They are rich in valuable ingredients and are very versatile, for example, as a food supplement or in the field of cosmetics, food and feed, biofuel, fertilizer and even as ingredient substances for drugs. The market volume of algae production has already exceeded the one billion US dollar mark and continues to grow fast.
Ecoduna recently changed its production technology at its plant in Austria from plastic to SCHOTT glass tubes 65 mm in diameter. The photobioreactors have been running continuously since the switch was made. For the company, this means higher yields and lower operating costs. The material’s longevity is also one of its key advantages; ecoduna says it used to plan to replace the plastic elements about every ten years. Now, thanks to an estimated 50-year lifespan of the glass tubing, having to replace the entire system is far less of a concern.
Higher output – lower costs
Ecoduna plans to use glass tubing at its new production facility in Austria and in another facility in Denmark that the company operates together with a partner.
Commercial algae producers constantly work to improve biomass yields and harvests. Glass tubing has proven to be extremely effective in both horizontal and vertical photobioreactors because its robustness and cleanliness extend the lifespan of these systems by multiple factors. SCHOTT will continue to work with companies like ecoduna in the future to find ways to improve system efficiencies, boost algae growth, and increase biomass yields. —
Let's bring light to algae