ALGADISK – Novel algae-based solution for CO2 capture and biomass production

The aim of the ALGADISK project is to develop a modular, scalable, and automatic biofilm reactor for algae biomass production, with low operational and installation costs. The reactor will be designed to capture CO2 from industrial emissions to produce high value organic products. In this system, algae will be grown both in an aqueous environment and on biocompatible surfaces, allowing for CO2 absorption from either the gas or liquid phase. This method will dramatically increase the efficiency of the reactor and decrease water requirements. Automatic and continuous harvesting of algae will be designed to optimize CO2 uptake and biomass production. Adjusting the scale of the system will be trivial, as ALGADISK will have a modular design, and the footprint of installation will be considerably reduced, compared to technologies currently on the market. Design software will be provided – which based on user input – will suggest installation parameters, perform a cost/benefit analysis to calculate economic feasibility, and make predictions concerning the environmental sustainability of the system. The proposed system will be specifically crafted to meet the needs of European SMEs who are willing to produce algae biomass products from industrial emissions.

The critical need at European level is present for economically reliable alga biomass production. At this research and development field many countries, especially the United States is much ahead Europe. On the other hand, nor the land space, neither the capital is present for creation of huge application sites. The need can only be fulfilled by SMEs, that willing to apply innovative technologies for small scale algae production. On this market, however, the bottle neck is the lack of efficient, universal reactor, and information about sustainability and feasibility of algae production. The ALGADSIK project, is focusing on this need of SMEs, by developing a universal and scalable reactor system with appropriate design and prediction software.

The main innovation of the project is the development of the ALGADISK reactor by modification of a state of the art biological contractor. In addition to the ALGADISK reactor, the project will develop a software-based algae production and optimization design tool. The user will input the specific needs and conditions (i.e., amount of CO2 emitted, type of algae to be produced) and the design tool will output technical details of the appropriate system (i.e., size and number of modules, operating conditions). The most crucial point is the determination of growth rate and growth conditions of different algae species on surfaces. The biocompatible surface suitable for the disc surface material will be researched extensively. The energy balance of the reactor will be optimized and prediction software will be developed which will allow future end users evaluating the different installation and operation scenarios. The reactor set-up will be optimized to reach the targets of the user. It can be either receiving the most valuable products possible at a given site, or capturing the most CO2, etc. Economic feasibility and environmental sustainability calculations will also be provided. The ALGADISK reactor developed will be tested on site in the project framework.

The project is supported by the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) under the Research of the Benefit of SME Associations scheme. 12 participants (3 associations, 4 small and medium enterprises and 4 research institutions) will work on the realization of the project for 36 months.

The Consortium members have identified a need for a scalable, economically feasible algae production unit, capable of delivering high value alga-based products (animal and human nutrients, bio-fertilizer), and biomass (biodiesel precursors), while reducing CO2 emissions. The associations are particularly interested in a system that remains profitable with small-scale installations, and occupies a minimal amount of space. In addition to the production technology, there is also a need for an organized and integrated knowledge base. Many of them are also interested in algae production but lack of the tools necessary to calculate economic feasibility and to determine which system best suits their needs.

The well-defined structure of the consortium is expected to efficiently control and monitor work by the partners and validate objectives as they are fulfilled throughout the duration of the programme. While R&D performers will execute the most innovation activities, the associations and other partners will assist with design specifications, supply their specific knowledge and validate the system through field-testing. Each has clearly and precisely defined their input to each task, as well as their responsibilities concerning background technology, materials and equipment.For more detailed technical description, please open the synopsis document below or use our question form under the ‘Contact Us’ tab.

For more detailed technical description, please open the synopsis document below:

Prediction web-application