Algae in glass
ecoduna’s Chief Operating Officer, Mag. Dr. Silvia Fluch, on photobioreactors made of glass tubing and her company’s next landmark project: building the largest Omega-3 fatty acids production in Europe.
Why have you switched to glass in your photobioreactors?
Before we switched to glass, our system mainly consisted of synthetic material. But during regular cleaning small scratches occurred on the surface. Bacteria can grow easily in there, and a biofilm gradually forms on the walls over time. The synthetic material needs to be exchanged after a few years, which is not good for the environment. By using glass, however, we are on the safe side.
Why is that?
Due to the smooth inner surface, the biofilm formation is reduced and the material stays clear and free from scratches. As a result, glass has a much longer life span as well. In addition, the material is resistant against partially aggressive pH levels of the algae. This was not the case before. We are very happy changing to glass especially because it’s a recyclable material and it perfectly fits to the philosophy of ecoduna: to be sustainable and protect the environment and nature.
What is your next step with the technology?
Due to the new technology, we will move to the next step. Since May 2017, we build a one-hectar e manufacturing facility near Wien, which will start the microalgae production in the following year. Several ten thousands of glass tubes with more than 800 cubic meters of photoactive volume will be needed to grow microalgae around the year. This will mean an output of about 100 tons dry biomass of different algae strands per year.
Why do you want to collaborate with SCHOTT in this project?
Once we decided to change technology to glass, everything was easy. It was like a joint evolution process from the very first to the very last step forward. Whenever ecoduna decided to start the next phase in implementing the new technology, SCHOTT realized it reliably, fast and with the highest quality.