Category: Uncategorised

“Location, location, location” – sustainable algal production

Like Ardnamurchan and the West Coast of Scotland, Iceland’s pristine environment, pure water and abundance of renewable energy provides an ideal location for cultivation of algae.

A brand new, state-of-the-art facility for the production of the health supplement Astaxanthin has been established at Reykjanesbaer by Norwegian company Algalif.

Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids, which are reported to have multiple health benefits including antioxidant properties. The compound  occurs naturally in certain algae and creates the pink or red colour in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.

Algalif extract the powerful antioxidant from the algal species Haematococcus pluvialis, which is grown using 100%, locally available geothermal energy. 

Watch the company video for full details of their Astaxanthin  production.

All set at Ardnamurchan

Preparation for the installation of the Pandora PBR™ algal photobioreactor (PBR) array at Ardnamurchan is almost complete. The combined heat and power system (CHP), which will supply the electricity for the array, is installed and running. This uses woodchip produced on site from local, sustainable timber to fuel its three 75kW turbines. The installation has also created two new employment positions to run the CHP, evaporator, pelleting and woodchip plant.

The newly constructed “shed” for algal PBR array is also ready, with utilities including lighting and power in place. Once the PBRs are installed, day to day running of the bioproduction facility will be used for a time and motion study and to enable development of business models and application tools for the project.


The work at Ardnamurchan represents more than £1 million of investment into the circular bioeconomy in the local area. The estate management, local resources and new CHP system make Ardnamurchan an ideal test ground for the pilot scale deployment of the ENBIO project. Installation of the photobioreactors is estimated to begin in July and everyone is very excited to see the array up and running.

ASLEE success at Rushlight Awards 2017-18

ALIenergy is delighted to announce their success as winner of the Bioenergy category in the Rushlight Awards 2017-18 on behalf of the ASLEE project partnership (Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economy). 

The Rushlight Awards are a well-established event recognizing the cleantech stars and sustainability champions of today. They are an independent set of awards designed specifically to support and promote all the latest clean technologies, innovations, programmes, installations and initiatives for businesses and other organisations throughout UK, Ireland and internationally. The awards include various categories which are focused on reducing the environmental footprint of energy, transport, industry and everyday life.

The Awards party (presented by Eventure Media), which took place immediately after the Rushlight Show, at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on 25th January, was attended by organizations that are leading the way in clean technology innovation and sustainable solution deployment, investors, advisers, specialist and general media, trade associations and government departments. Mark Taylor, Deputy Director at BEIS and Head of Programme Delivery, Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy, and the guest of honour at the Awards Party, set out his past and the current activities of the department in the cleantech arena, before presenting the awards.

The Rushlight Show included key announcements by Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, as well as major contributions from John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser at BEIS; Rob Saunders, Head of Energy at Innovate UK; Julie Hill, Chair at WRAP and senior representatives from the Committee on Climate Change, Energy Systems Catapult, CBI, National Grid, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the NHS. Now in its 9th year, the Show (sponsored by Innovate UK, BEIS, Flanders Investment & Trade, Carbon Limiting Technologies, Sage, Granted Consultancy, Venner Shipley and Smith & Williamson), attracted over 600 cleantech CEOs and entrepreneurs, investors and financiers, advisers, corporate customers and others involved in the sector.

For further information and a list of Rushlight Awards winners visit: 

Zero Waste Scotland funding granted for Energy and the Bioeconomy (ENBIO)

Xanthella Ltd and ALIenergy are very pleased to announce the start of a new pioneering project continuing the innovative work which took place in the ASLEE project. Energy and the Bioeconomy (ENBIO) project, funded by Zero Waste Scotland (, is highly innovative and (to our knowledge) currently unique in the world. It uses algal bioproduction to enable new industry in rural areas and at the same time increasing the strength of the rural circular economy by enabling better use of stranded timber and distillery coproducts.
The project builds on the existing LECF-funded ASLEE project which has developed a novel, class-leading internally lit photobioreactor (Pandora) whose lighting can be externally controlled to meet grid demands, allowing the PBRs to be used as a rapidly-acting balancer of local renewable energy production. The ASLEE project also demonstrated that the algae are very tolerant to light intermittency, making their production an ideal transactive load.
The ENBIO project will see sixteen 1000 litre Pandora PBRs deployed at the Ardnamurchan Estate using surplus energy from the CHP plant to produce high value algae and automatically matching local electricity demand with production. The Ardnamurchan PBR array will give Scotland a lead in industrial scale algal biotechnology in the UK.
In addition, the ENBIO project will contribute to the low carbon economy through helping reduce transport costs, displace algal imports that are currently air shipped to Scotland, achieve better use of distillery co-products and directly incorporate CO2 into the algae.
Within the project ALIenergy is working with Xanthella ( and Ardnamurchan Estate (
Representatives from the partner organisations and Zero Waste Scotland gathered for a kick off meeting at Xanthella’s offices at Malin House, Dunstaffnage, near Oban, on Thursday 26th October.

Algoland – decarbonising cement production in Sweden

Cement is a ubiquitous product used primarily in the construction industry. In 2016 alone 4.2 billion metric tonnes of cement were used worldwide. However, the production of cement is responsible for 5 – 6 % of the global carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere each year. The carbon dioxide emissions occur during the manufacturing process, when limestone (Calcium Carbonate – CaCO3) is burnt to produce quicklime (Calcium Oxide – CaO). The intense heat (1400 °C) required for the process, which is usually produced by burning fossil fuels, also releases carbon dioxide, further adding to the overall emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the industry.

In the fight to reduce GHG emissions, many countries are looking at innovative ways to decarbonise industrial processes like cement manufacture. Sweden has chosen to become zero-emissions by 2045 and has been examining how it can reduce the CO2 emissions within its industries. Heidelberg Cement (the fourth-largest producer of cement) has a large factory in Degerhamn and is collaborating with environmental scientist Catherine Legrand from Linnaeus University in the Algoland project. The project is using algae to capture the CO2 released during the cement manufacturing process, by bubbling the exhaust fumes from the limestone kilns through algal cultures contained in hundreds of bags. As the algae photosynthesize they use the CO2, removing it from the flue gas, and converting it into food for growth, just as plants do on land.

The algae also produce oils and proteins which have many uses e.g. as supplementation to animal or fish feed. This means not only is the cement manufacturing process less environmentally harmful, the algal carbon capture system gives added value benefits.

For more information on the revolutionary technology being used in Sweden, click here

Community Energy Convergence

ASLEE partner Lynda Mitchell, from ALIenergy, recently had the opportunity to take part in the Friends of the Earth Europe Community Energy Convergence ( ) in Catalonia, at the beautiful cooperatively-owned venue of Mas Franch near Girona.

Organised in conjunction with European Federation of Renewable Energy Cooperatives ( ), this event brought together over 80 participants representing the community energy sector from 20 European countries. The story of the ASLEE project sparked plenty of interest amongst the delegates with its interwoven themes of renewable energy, grid balancing, circular economy, algae, fish and remote Scottish whisky distilleries!


ASLEE 2017

For information on the ASLEE project, click to see the ASLEE video 2017

Xanthella begins scale-up of algal production

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.

Local Energy Oban – CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund awarded for feasibility study

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

For information on Local Energy Scotland and CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund, click here

Rethinking the Energy System

Ancillary services are becoming increasingly important in management of the supply and demand of electricity within the national grid. The increasing amount of low carbon electricity generation means the national grid has to adapt and find new, smart ways to help maintain the balance and ensure the energy system is fit for the future. This means adopting a more flexible approach and including a greater variety of technologies and services, such as smart meters, electric vehicles, demand side response and energy storage.

A recent document by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem outlines the action plan for upgrading the energy system in the UK.

The ASLEE project is developing a model that offers an innovative alternative to demand side management and grid balancing.  Using renewable energy at excess times to power submerged LED light sheets in a manufacturing process to grow algae, the resulting dynamic production system can act as a transactive load capable of rapid response to grid frequency changes.  The high degree of automation within the photobioreactors, provided by the sophisticated lighting control system makes the PBRs ideally suited for participation in the transition to a more flexible energy network.

In the ASLEE model the reactive capability of the PBRs to respond to intermittent renewable power generation is combined with the production of microalgae, providing additional income streams, creating a truly innovative solution for the changing energy system.

For full government action plan document – click here