Microalgae biomass production

Range of services

  • Screening for microalgae and cyanobacteria with different properties and ingredients
  • Development of photoautotrophic processes for microalgae and cyanobacteria in flat panel airlift reactors from laboratory to technical plant scale
  • Process optimization for improving productivity and biomass yield using flue gas and digestate as carbon and nutrient source
  • Development and adaptation of software for outdoor control and feedback control systems
  • Development of processes for the isolation, separation and purification of algal products
  • Commissioned production of algal biomass with defined composition up to 100 kg

Infrastructure and technical equipment

© Fraunhofer IGB
Outdoor facility at the Fraunhofer CBP

The algae plant at the Fraunhofer CBP

At the Fraunhofer CBP is the pilot plant and the greenhouse at leisure.The total capacity of the facility is 11.7 cubic meters within 110 reactors each with volumes totaling 6, 30 or 180 liters. Of this production capacity, 7.2 cubic meters are in four lines each with ten 180 liter reactors outdoors. Scale-up can take place in the greenhouse (from 6 to 30 to 180 liters). This modular construction also facilitates the use of the system to carry out a wide range of experiments.

Operation of the greenhouse system is based on complete process automation and control using the “Totally Integrated Automation” concept from Siemens. A “Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition System” (SCADA) is used to collect data and create a network among independent modules of the system.

Both visual controls and access points for the user and report outputs take place via “Human Machine Interfaces” (HMI) at the facility. The Fraunhofer IGB was entirely responsible for the design of this system and development of the software.

This software allows the targeted feeding of the culture with nutrients such as ammonium or nitrate, phosphate and iron. This allows, decoupled of harvest cycles, to precisely define the cell concentrations and adjust them to available light intensities. This leads to greater stability and productivity of the process. The pH is controlled by addition of CO2 by a mass flow controller.

Cultivation of microalgae

  • Fully automated pilot plant for the cultivation of microalgae (greenhouse and outdoor facility) based on fat-panel airlift reactor technology
  • Indoors: fve modules with fve 6-liter reactors each, fve modules with fve 30-liter reactors each, three modules with fve 180-liter reactors each – a total of 65 reactors with a capacity of 3.6 m3
  • Outdoors: one module with fve 180-liter reactors, four modules with ten 180-liter reactors each – a total of 45 reactors with a capacity of 8.1 m3