Swedish Algae Factory has been cultivating a particular group of microalgae, called diatoms, and investigating their potential uses.
Diatoms are a huge group of photosynthetic microalgae that are found in almost every aquatic environment on the planet. With thousands of species, diatoms are amongst the most abundant and ecologically important microscopic organisms. They are responsible for approximately 20% of oxygen generation through photosynthesis, and can be recognised by their unique and beautifully elaborate exterior shells that contain silica.
The Swedish Algae Factory have developed a protocol for production of nanomaterials made of silica from diatoms. The extracted materials have been tested on solar panels. The naturally light trapping silica has been shown to improve the efficiency of dye – sensitised solar panels (DSSC) by as much as 60%: click here for details of their work.