Small footprint microalgal photobioreactors

Small footprint microalgal photobioreactors 1
Pond Technologies photobioreactor system

As a microbiologist, I have a strong interest in using the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to grow microalgae. This is an excellent way to prevent the carbon dioxide in flue gases from entering the environment.

In a number of projects where I have been involved, the plan has been to add a microalgal cultivation system to an existing source of carbon dioxide, e.g an anaerobic digestion operation or cement factory.

Often, a major restriction has been the amount of space available. Although there are some excellent raceway pond and photobioreactor technologies available, many have too large a footprint. I am, therefore, always on the look out for cultivation systems that have a small footprint.

One such system is that offered by Pond Technologies. A brief schematic video of their system is available.

The Pond Technologies website makes a statement that I agree with totally – “Emitting large volumes of carbon dioxide is no longer a risk or liability – it is a potential revenue stream”.

The CEO of Pond Technologies, Steve Martin, says “Our technology is much more than sequestration of carbon dioxide. We actually convert greenhouse gases into sustainable proteins and high-value nutraceuticals, or dietary supplements, that can benefit society.  The market for the technology is huge — there are more than 10,000 large emitters [of carbon dioxide] in North America.” 

The technology can used to take carbon dioxide from a number of sources to produce nutraceuticals (such as astaxanthin), animal and aquaculture feeds and many other products.

Many aspects of the technology are patent-protected, covering the USA, the EU, China and Canada. Patent protection has recently been extended to include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and  the United Arab Emirates.

This is obviously a company with world-wide ambitions.

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