ASLEE reached another major milestone in production of microalgae. Algal cultivation work began in June 2016 using 1L PBRs and has now progressed to production in a 600L Pandora PBR. This huge leap has allowed Xanthella to begin investigating mass cultivation of microalgae. The novel, internally illuminated Pandora photobioreactor (PBR) which has been designed, developed and built by Xanthella, contains a series of submersible and completely bespoke light emitting diode (LED) light sheets. The highly controlled and short light path properties of the submerged light sheets make the Pandora PBR a world leader. Furthermore, it is possible to have a range of specific wavelength LEDs in the light sheets to suit different applications and growth requirements.
Power load to the LED lighting can be automatically and rapidly adjusted using the specially designed Zeus Control System and innovative VCharge software. The integrated controls allow the power to be turned off and on or up and down almost instantaneously in response to changes in grid frequency. The next steps are to examine the growth and productivity of the algae in the large volume Pandora PBR and assess how the light sheets function as a transactive load for grid balancing.
The unique combination of microalgal manufacturing with intermittent light from locally produced renewable electricity is the highly innovative aspect of the ASLEE project. Determining how these elements come together at scale will be the focus of the next few months.
ALIenergy has permission for an 850kW electrical grid connection at Moleigh, the waste disposal and recycling site near Oban. Although originally conceptualised as a site for a wind turbine, wind data was not favourable and work did not go ahead. Now, the potential for local electricity generation at the site is being reconsidered. In order to better understand the possibilities a feasibility study of the site is required. ALIenergy is delighted to announce that funding from the Scottish Government’s CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund has been awarded to enable them to begin the assessment. The feasibility study (Local Energy Oban – LEO) will assess the best options and examine a full range of sustainable energy generation technologies.
As current emphasis for energy generation is on a “whole system view” as defined in the Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy, the proposed study will also investigate the incorporation of on-site energy use, storage, demand-side and active network management. The local energy use model of on-site photobioreactors developed within the ASLEE project could be an excellent possibility for the site, enabling the barriers to local energy generation to be overcome and providing an integrated model with multiple income streams.
Ultimately ALIenergy aims to deliver heat and/or electricity to local energy consumers and link to existing local energy demand – both on-site and nearby e.g. an electric vehicle charge point in Oban town centre. As a not-for-profit, community based organisation ALIenergy is proposing to develop the site to be income generating, innovative, collaborative and create maximum local benefit. To read about other projects and work that ALIenergy is involved in go to www.alienergy.org.uk
For information on Local Energy Scotland and CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund, click here