Engineering

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation

The new Algae Technic from TU Munchen to bring forward the algae research: scientists can simulate where climatic conditions from almost anywhere in the world. So far, the low-maintenance plant for bio-fuels, road material, and even ski slopes are suitable.

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation. What we do not know now is how many types of algae there actually there. Estimates vary between 50,000 and 150,000 species. Begin researching are of 5000 and only ten species have so far brought it for commercial use. Economic importance and potential of algae are huge and are developed only gradually. In the recently inaugurated Algae Technic in Ottobrunn near Munich, scientists want to make a contribution.

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation design Sophisticated Air Conditioning and special LED Lighting

The unique pilot plant for the algae cultivation has developed the Technical University in Munich (TUM) in cooperation with the Airbus Group. From there, as well as by the Bavarian Ministry of science are also the ten million euros, which has cost the Algentechnikum. In the 1500 m2 building are three rooms for the cultivation of algae as well as laboratory and office space. In the plant, scientists can simulate lighting and climatic conditions for virtually any location in the world.

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation
The new Algea grow technic on the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn. In the 1500 m2 building there are three rooms for the cultivation of algae as well as laboratory and office space. Andreas Heddergott/TUM

The facade consists of special glass which can pass also ultraviolet radiation. In the Central Hall, growing – and preparing experiments be performed while in the two outer halls both tropical and very dry climate conditions can be created. This is made possible by a sophisticated air-conditioning and a special LED lighting. The highly efficient LEDs provide light in the wavelength range between 300 and 800 nm and with a very coming near the sunlight intensity distribution. Since the various LED types of individually controllable, the scientists also from the Sun can set different, individual spectra.

Algae grow fast, need no fertile soils and are very profitable

“No one can predict whether a seaweed from the South Pacific under the lighting conditions in Germany is just as productive as in their homeland”, says Thomas Brück, head of the Department industrial Biocatalysis of the TUM. “Just as little is known whether here in Bavaria successful candidates under the lighting conditions of the Sahara would be just as successful. We can now test all of this in our laboratory.”

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation_

“Algae grow much faster than soy or corn. You need no fertile soils, no pesticides and could bring a ten times higher yield per hectare per year”, says bangs. So, many algae can produce chemical intermediates, build protein mass or fats. Protein mass could be used as cattle feed and fuels could produce from the fat. Andreas Heddergott/TUM

Algae as biofuel, pavement, or substitute for artificial snow

Research on algae and their economic potential has increased significantly around the world in recent years. A testing centre, where algae as biofuel for vehicles are processed is currently produced in Japan. Also at Research Centre Jülich, an algae Science Center was created. Examines to what extent micro-algae can play a role in the production of sustainable fuels. Micro-algae can be used as road construction material, as French scientists have found out. Even as a substitute for artificial snow, the bright green water plants are already in the conversation.

Munich Researcher Revolutionize Algae Cultivation__
The construction of the Munich Algentechnikums cost €10 million. Financiers are the Bavarian Ministry for science and aircraft manufacturer Airbus.