Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Algiecel

Modular photobioreactors use algae to capture carbon


A new system not only captures carbon but uses it as feedstock to produce new products

Spotted: Almost all industrial facilities emit CO2, and while there are options for capturing the carbon emitted by large plants, there are few options for small- and medium-sized facilities. Now, Danish startup Algiecel has developed a modular photobioreactor (PBR) that can capture CO2 and transform it into algae-based derivative products.

Algiecel’s PBR’s are highly compact and fit into standard 40-foot shipping containers. The PBRs capture CO2 from industrial point emissions using algae, with energy for photosynthesis coming from LED lighting, and the only waste streams being oxygen and process heat – which can be reused. The containers can also be easily scaled for use by almost any facility.

Video source BioInnovation Institute

The microalgae grown in the PBR are rich in protein, omega-3, vitamins, and carotenoids and can be split into biomass and bio-oil. This makes it especially useful in products such as aquaculture feed and as a human food supplement. So, not only do the bioreactors prevent CO2 from reaching the atmosphere – they are also a source of new products.

Algiecel adds: “We can thus achieve constantly efficient production with increasing scale compared with competing solutions. The container-based plug and play structure also means a more flexible capex solution for clients.”

In 2022, Algiecel successfully operated a pilot plant and has recently raised kr.10 million (about €1.3 million) in funding to further optimise the technology and create its first full-scale demonstration unit.

Springwise has spotted other flexible carbon capture and storage solutions, such as a novel way to remove carbon from the air and reuse it, and a process that can retrofit HVAC units to remove CO2.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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