Month: November 2018

Installation is underway at Scotland’s first renewable powered microalgal facility

The ENBIO algal production facility at Ardnamurchan is under construction. ENBIO, funded by Zero Waste Scotland, is a partnership project conceived by Xanthella and ALIenergy to enhance the rural circular economy.

The project integrates surplus renewable energy with algal bioproduction and will see sixteen 1000L photobioreactors (Pandora PBRs™) installed at the purpose built facility on the Ardnamurchan Estate. The unique Pandora PBRs™ (developed in the ASLEE project) contain submerged LED lightsheets that will be powered by locally generated renewable electrcity.

On-site, a metal racking system has been put in place to locate the Pandora PBRs™. The two-tier structure provides a highly efficient use of space and maximises the production area. Lifting and access equipment for manipulation of the modular PBR units has been obtained. Water, drainage and power supplies are connected and ready for use. Four 700L prototype PBRs are also in place and will be used for testing and operational development. These systems will enable daily routines and maintenance procedures to be trialled and determined. The prototype PBRs will allow Xanthella and Ardnamurchan to establish standard operating practices for the running of the algal facility, as well as investigating the dewatering and downstream processing of the algae produced. An on-site field lab is to be built within the premises to provide space for inoculum culturing and analysis. The electrical power to run the algal PBRs will be 100% renewable, supplied by the local biomass CHP plant situated on the same site in a neighbouring building. It is anticipated that the algal production facility will begin operating in 2019 and will give Scotland a lead in industrial scale algal biotechnology in the UK.


Xanthella success at prestigious VIBES environmental business awards 2018

ASLEE – ENBIO partner, Xanthella Ltd, was one of 10 companies rewarded for their commitment to sustainability at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.  The biotechnology company collected the Innovation award at the ceremony held at the Radisson Blu for the pioneering ASLEE – ENBIO approach which is a partnership project conceived by Xanthella and ALIenergy, 

Aqualution Systems Ltd, Beyond Green, Clearwater Controls Ltd, Devro (Scotland) Ltd, Hickory, Peel Tech Ltd, Scottish Leather Group Limited, Spruce Carpets Limited and The James Hutton Institute were also awarded for their environmental efforts. Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service and DSM Nutritional Products (UK) Limited received commendation at the award ceremony attended by more than 400 business figures on 14 November.  The announcement follows a rigorous judging process, where each of the 43 finalists were visited by a team of judges to assess their environmental processes.

Dr Douglas McKenzie, Chief Executive at Xanthella Ltd, said: “We are proud to have been recognised at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards in the Innovation category. Collecting a VIBES Award is a real testament to the hard work and commitment from everyone at Xanthella, ALIenergy and our partners. The Awards are a fantastic way to bring the ground breaking ASLEE – ENBIO project to a wider audience and an excellent opportunity to find out more about other like – minded Scottish businesses working to benefit the environment and inspire others.”

The 10 businesses awarded, which represent a range of sectors and sizes, demonstrated challenging their everyday working practices to embrace the economic opportunity of sustainability with all reaping the wider associated benefits including increased resource efficiency, resilience, competitiveness as well as a positive working culture. The businesses were awarded under a range of categories including; management (large and small), circular economy, environmental product or service, hydro nation water innovation, green team, innovation, sustainable and active travel and micro business – highlighting the diverse ways businesses can implement best practice in their daily activity. The awards also demonstrated how even small changes can have a big difference, for example adopting active travel practices that reduce both reliance on cars and carbon emissions to implementing management programmes that empower staff to make more sustainable choices.

One of the biggest threats to humanity is climate change and in light of this, a Climate Adaptation Award was also introduced this year in partnership with Adaptation Scotland to reward a business that demonstrates managing climate related risks. This was awarded to The James Hutton Institute for its innovative work on the International Barley Hub, an ambitious development to create a world-leading centre to translate excellence in barley research and innovation into economic, social and environmental benefits. Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service also received commendation in this category.

Commenting, Bob Downes, chair of SEPA and head of the VIBES judging panel, said: “The VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards celebrate business leadership in sustainable environmental investment, and are an excellent opportunity to recognise and reward companies for going beyond ‘business as usual’ and driving sustainable growth through innovation.

“The most successful businesses in the future will be those that are not just compliant, but which are also low carbon, low material use, low water use and low waste, and which see environmental excellence as an opportunity. This is at the core of SEPA’s One Planet Prosperity regulatory strategy.

“It is very encouraging to see the diverse range of businesses, small and large, which are taking important steps to reduce their impact on the environment and which understand how environmental excellence can also benefit their bottom line. I would like to congratulate each of this year’s winning businesses and organisations, and hope that others will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.”

Each of the 2018 VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards winners is now eligible to enter the next European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) which is open to winners and runners up of RSA Accredited award schemes. VIBES is the only Scottish based RSA Accredited award scheme.

Sponsoring the awards this year was: Adaptation Scotland, Chivas Brothers Pernod Ricard, Climate-KIC through ECCI, Energy Saving Trust, Farne Salmon and Trout, Glenmorangie, Greenvale AP, Mabbett, NetRegs, Scottish Government, ScottishPower, University of Stirling Management School, Vegware and Wave.

For more information on VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards please visit

VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards is a strategic partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, and Energy Saving Trust.

The Awards are further supported by CBI Scotland, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses, Bright Green Business, Quality Scotland and Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

The Awards are accredited by the RSA Environment Awards Accreditation Scheme (

The full list of VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards 2018 winners are as follows:

  • Circular Economy – Sponsored by Chivas Brothers Pernod Riccard:
    Spruce Carpets Limited (Winner)
  • Hydro Nation Water Innovation – Sponsored by Scottish Government:
    Aqualution Systems Ltd (Winner)
  • Sustainable and Active Travel – Sponsored by Energy Saving Trust:
    Beyond Green (Winner)
  • Climate Change Adaptation – Sponsored by Adaptation Scotland:
    Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service (Commendation)
    The James Hutton Institute (Winner)
  • Management SME (under 250 employees) – Sponsored by Stirling University Management School:
    Hickory (Winner)
  • Management Large (over 250 employees) – Sponsored by Glenmorangie:
    DSM Nutritional Products (UK) Limited (Commended)
    Scottish Leather Group Limited (Winner)
  • Environmental Product or Service – Sponsored by NetRegs:
    Clearwater Controls Ltd (Winner)
  • Green Team – Sponsored by Wave:
    Devro (Scotland) Ltd (Winner)
  • Innovation – Sponsored by ScottishPower:
    Xanthella (Winner)
  • Micro Business – Sponsored by Climate KIC through ECCI:
    Peel Tech Ltd (Winner)

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, promotes Circular Economy approach in Scotland

At the recent Circular Economy Hotspot event, hosted by Zero Waste Scotland and Circular Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon announced the latest Scottish businesses receiving support from the Circular Economy Investment Fund.
After giving a keynote address promoting the opportunities and moral imperative of the circular economy approach in Scotland, the First Minister took time to speak to some of the exhibitors, including ENBIO partner representative Dr Douglas McKenzie, Chief Executive of Xanthella.

Dr McKenzie discussed the ASLEE-ENBIO model and how algal production can provide an integrated circular economy system using whisky industry co-products and surplus renewable energy. The combination can simultaneously reduce the cost of algal production and improve the return on renewable asset investment. The majority of algae currently used in Scotland is imported and the ASLEE-ENBIO approach offers the opportunity to displace the imports, reduce carbon costs and provide a new income in some of Scotland’s most fragile economies.

Ms Sturgeon was shown Xanthella’s lab scale microPharos photobioreactors which are used to develop culturing protocols for the 1000l Pandora industrial scale reactors, 16 of which are currently being installed at the Ardnamurchan Estate as part of the ENBIO project funded by Zero Waste Scotland.