The prototype Pandora photobioreactor has been constructed by Xanthella. Completion of the PBR required design and development of bespoke components and specialised engineering. The prototype Pandora has a working volume of 600l (whereas the full-scale Pandora PBRs will have a working volume of 850l). The LED illumination is class leading and can be configured for different lighting regimes in terms of wavelengths, intensity and light periods. All of which are controlled by the Zeus II control system which also controls the temperature and pH. The development has provided accurate production costs which can be used for business modelling of the algal biomanufacturing process.
Preparation work at the FAI Ardtoe aquaculture facility has been completed in readiness for the installation of the new Pandora photobioreactors (PBRs) planned for August 2017. More than 60 m2 of working space has been created to accommodate the four 850l PBRs that form part of the pilot scale phase of the ASLEE project. The PBR room has been equipped with both a seawater and freshwater supply, along with new electric system and drainage channel. Wide roll doors on the room have been fitted for ease of entry with the Pandora PBRs and access to spacious exterior area is available to allow for PBR cleaning and maintenance. Once installed the PBR array will be used to assess the scaled-up production of marine microalgae using intermittent power conditions.
A new site facility to house the pilot scale Pandora photobioreactor array is almost complete on the Ardnamurchan Estate. The new “shed” structure and roof are in place and the floor is to be laid shortly. The proposal is to install an array of 32 Pandora PBRs, being developed by project partner Xanthella Ltd , over the next 6 – 8 months. The algal growth system will then be used to assess scaled – up production of freshwater microalgae using renewable electricity generated on site.
We are very pleased to be invited to speak at the Scottish Renewables ‘Storage and Systems’ Conference on June 21st at Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow, G4 0BA. The conference will consider the impacts and opportunities arising from the transition to a “smart, flexible energy system“, and how energy systems and storage can contribute. Click here for full details.
Join us to hear the latest ASLEE project developments in session4 – Technology and Project Speed Update. The session examines key technology and projects across Scotland and will feature some of the industry’s leading lights and discuss the latest developments.
Chair: Stephen-Mark Williams, Director, Energy Technology Partnership
- Alan Mason, Principal Consultant, TNEI
- Lynda Mitchell, Manager, ALIenergy from The ASLEE Project
- David Aldrich, Sales and Marketing Manager, Denchi Power
- Les King, Director -Technology, Policy and Liaison, Doosan Babcock
Click here to view full conference programme. Join us on twitter @ASLEEproject16 @ScotRenew @ALIenergy13
Microalgae are extremely interesting organisms that are able to produce a wide variety of biochemical compounds such as pigments, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals (Gupta, et al., 2015). These chemicals have bioactive properties that can be used in several industries and are being increasingly studied and exploited.
As large-scale production of microalgae becomes more common, the need for cost-effective systems and efficient culturing techniques has become more important than ever. The potential and range of application of microalgae include the production of aquaculture feed, food supplements, cosmetics and nutraceuticals (Schulze, et al., 2014). Algae pigments are used in the food and cosmetic industry as natural food colorants. Additionally, certain strains of algae such as Spirulina and Chlorella are commercialized in the form of food supplements due to their overall health benefits. This increasing demand in production has led to a parallel development of both photobioreactors (PBR) and available light sources.
Artificial light sources for use in microalgal production systems include fluorescent lamps and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Historically, fluorescent tubes were widely used because of their wide light spectrum. However, recent findings show that fluorescent lights do not provide the right wavelength for microalgal photosynthesis due to the variability between different algal strains. In contrast, LEDs are highly flexible light sources – they can be produced very cheaply and can be manufactured with a wide variety of wavelengths and desired intensities. LEDs have also become increasingly energy efficient over the years, with white-light LEDs in particular having efficiencies of up to 50%. Since microalgae depend on a “balanced mix of wavelengths for normal growth“ (Schulze, et al., 2014), LEDs are currently the best light source available.
Within the ASLEE project we are using the highly efficient LEDs in the form of encapsulated light sheets that are fully submerged in the microalgal photobioreactor. Numerous light sheets are included in the pilot scale PBRs to ensure effective distribution of light to the growing microalgae. The light sheets are powered by excess renewable energy at source, which not only further reduces the cost of producing the microalgae, but also provides a demand side management and grid balancing service. The added value income stream is made possible by a newly developed combination of Xanthella and VCharge technologies that automatically adjusts the photobioreactor lighting in rapid response to grid frequency.
By utilising the rapidly evolving LED technology, the ASLEE project is able to reduce the cost of microalgal biomanufacturing whilst at the same time offering a radical and exciting solution to grid constraints and, potentially, overcome curtailment of renewable energy projects. That’s a bright solution!
26th and 27th April 2017
at The Golden Lion Hotel, King Street, Stirling
ASLEE project partners will be amongst the delegates discussing the Scottish Government’s energy strategy consultation and the key role of community energy.
Click here to view full details
STAND HIE 49
Click here for full event details and delegate registration
Around 120 delegates joined us for a very successful and highly engaging day at the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow on 20th March. Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of Strathclyde University, welcomed everyone to the fantastic university venue where industry, public sector, academia and research all connect. He spoke of the energy trilemma ( and “quadrilemma”) and the potential opportunities. He also expressed his keenness to examine, as chair of the Energy Technology Partnership, how he could support the ASLEE project.
The welcome was followed by a keynote address from Katherine White, head of the Strategy and Projects Unit within the Energy and Climate Change directorate at the Scottish Government, outlining Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy and its underlying themes, goals and priorities.
The diverse challenges facing rural economies were reflected in the range of presentations in session 1. Talks from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Centre for Remote and Rural studies at UHI, were delivered along with industry perspectives from Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN), Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and Scottish Craft Distillers Association.
After a refreshment break, a number of the ASLEE project partners gave an excellent overview of the project achievements over the last 10 months. These included the technical and biological findings, the proposed economic model and the potential for the future. A long networking lunch then allowed delegates to interact and engage with the speakers and exhibitors in the exhibition area. Details of the exhibiting organisations can be found here.
In the afternoon, we heard about other local energy innovations and initiatives, including production and use of hydrogen; anaerobic digestion and bioenergy; energy storage technologies; distribution network management, and the Eden Campus facility at St Andrews University.
The day ended with talks and a panel discussion on policy and future opportunities. The panel, chaired by former MSP Mr Jim Mather included Paul Hudman from IBioIC, Scott Bryant of Zero Waste Scotland, Jennifer Ramsay from Local Energy Scotland and Douglas McKenzie, CEO of Xanthella.
Summing up at the end of the day, Mr Mather reflected on the success of bringing together different perspectives and stressed the importance of building on the collaborative conversations that had been started.
All presentations from the conference are available here – click on the speakers name within the conference programme.
ASLEE project would like to thank HIE for their support of the event, and all the speakers, exhibitors and delegates for their contributions, questions and discussions.
The CyanoSol group at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, are delighted to announce funding of approximately £1.4 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in a Global Challenge for “In-reservoir destruction of Blue-Green algae and their toxins”. CyanoSol director Professor Linda Lawton will be principal investigator for the new project, working with Professor Peter Richardson at Queens University, Belfast and Professor John Irvine and Dr Paul Conner of St. Andrews University.
CyanoSol aims to develop sustainable exploitation of the diverse biosynthetic capabilities of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) and are involved in internationally renowned research into the environmental impact and monitoring of toxins and other problematic metabolites, including taste and odour compounds produced by the algae.
The group directed by Professor Linda Lawton and deputy director Dr Christine Edwards has a dedicated algal production facility, with state of the art purification and analytical suite and more than 50 years experience working with bioactive natural products from plants and microbes. Current projects include a wide collaboration network (at national and international level) with organisations including: Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC); National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB); Xanthella; Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas); EPSRC; SuperGen Bioenergy Hub; Enzo; Cyanocost.
- Photo-Catalytic production of bioethanol
- Production of high value bioactive compounds
- Sustainable Exploitation of Algae
- Novel Bioactives from Streptomyces
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is pleased to support the Empowering Rural Industries Conference being held next week. bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders, this event will stimulate conversations particularly in the context of building sustainability and community resilience in the rural economy.
For other information click on European Marine Science Park
There was a great turn out for the Local Energy Scotland showcase event on 15th February at The Academy in Glasgow.
The ASLEE exhibition stand was well attended and Xanthella’s Dr Douglas McKenzie presented a brief overview of the ASLEE project. The event was a great opportunity to meet the other project teams currently supported by the Local Energy Challenge Fund. All presentation slides from the event can be found here.
More information on Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge fund is available here.