Renewable energy production by mass cultivation of diatoms

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1 Renewable energy production by mass cultivation of diatoms (an UIT Finnfjord collaboration project) Algtech.no

2 Why to cultivate microalgae? Because we need energy, fuel, food, fish feed, healthy omega-3 lipids, new medications, skin cream, toothpaste, anti-oxidants, bioplastics, biopolymers, UVR-filter and much more Photobioreactor (PBR) 10 mm Porosira glacialis (diatom)

3 Small algae, high consentration and small volume Status Quo in microalgae cultivation: Pipes - continuous Reactor Micro-Algae Cultivation performed today in southern (sunny) areas is based on the following principles: -Bioreactors are either large shallow ponds, tube reactors or closed systems (tubes)! = Small volume and high concentrations -Uncontrollable growth conditions (temp, light) -Small species (green red - blue-green) 2-10 mm Pipes - Batch Reactor Ground ponds

4 1978 to 1996: Extensive U.S. gov. Biodiesel from algae Research Program!

5 Microalgae are by far the most promising alternative to ordinary crop plants! Cultivation procedures are too expensive! The main future challenges are of biological /(chemical) nature = Biological optimization This is still current = algae has not been biologically/ chemically optimized towards the desired end product. Conclusion: We have to optimize the cultivation with respect to efficient growth, controllable growth conditions and easy harvesting

6 Diatoms: -Absorbs 50% of the CO 2 produced on Earth -BEAUTIFUL! And generally bigger than other microalgae used in mass cultivation. - Main primary producers in the north - Produces high amounts of lipids (northern species) > species, chemically diverse! - Live in a (silicate) glasshouse mm (1 mm = 10-6 m) - Double biomass 1-2 x day! - 25 mill cells L -1 in a spring bloom - Binary fission + sexual reproduction - Resting spores - Produces 50% of O 2 on Earth

7 Phytoplankton: CO 2 N P Si Light + Inorganic nutrients Omega tanks Unlimited amounts of organic Biomass, ALSO OIL! They are FOTOSYNTHETIC organisms - Grass of the sea

8 N P Si O 2 CO 2 Finnfjord as Diatoms with highly efficient Rubisco (enzyme for CO2 fixation) Rubisco Lipids, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Pigments, Antioxidants Diatoms with high lipid content Lipid Algae need great amounts of CO 2 to grow! Despite the fact that CO 2 in the atmosphere is unwanted, it has a high commercial value. If we use CO 2 from industrial fumes to produce diatoms, we also get rid of CO 2 and save money on the cultivation process.

9 Diatoms (50 mm) We will produce: - Omega-3 lipids for fish feed and bulk feed - OIL (renewable energy) Added value/social benefits: - Healthy/usefull molecules - Bioprospecting - Pollutant free omega-3 lipids for human consumption By cultivation of diatoms that: - Yield biomass og O 2 from light, N, P and Si - sequestrates CO 2 from industrial fumes To achieve reproducible production: - the cultivation must be set up with controllable technology - supplemental (LED) light should be used!

10 Ecological benefits for marine ecosystems 0.1 kg 0.01 kg 1 kg Zooplankton Fish Diatom Farmed fish Very few kg!!! To feed fish with fish is "bad practice", both ecologically (fishing press) and with respect to conflict of interest!

11 Dette var bra! 1 kg Farming!! Diatoms Remember that all marine lipids are originally produced by algae! Much more kg!!! Feeding farmed fish directly with algae feed leads to a much more favorable scenario = much less energy, cleaner food and no conflicts of interest!!!

12 P.J. Harrison, P.A Thompson, G.S. Calderwood What do diatoms produce? PROTEIN CARBOHYDRATE LIPID 50 60% of this can be extremely healthy polyunsaturated omega 3 lipids!! DIATOMS contain: 15-25% Lipids 25-50% Carbohydrates 10-50% Proteins Otherwise "everything possible"!

13 ) -3 mm Volum ( Diameter (m m) When the DIAMETER of an organism increases with the first power, the VOLUME increases with the third power! You can place (small) Chlorella inside one large Coscinodiscus that we are cultivating! This has consequences for mass cultivation since there is less self-shadowing pr. biomass unit = making it possible to operate a PBR with longer light path.

14 The same biomass concentration in all three flasks! To the right Coscinodiscus sp. (200 µm), in the middle Porosira sp. (40 µm), and to the - left Pyramimonas sp. (5 µm).

15 The most abundant protein on earth: RuBisCO = Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase RuBisCo catalyze Carboxylation/oxygenation of the substrate: RuBP = Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate RuBisCo is an enzyme (protein) that is used in the Calvin cycle to catalyze the first major step of carbon fixation. RuBisCO makes atmospheric CO 2 available to organisms in the form of energy-rich molecules such as sucrose. CO 2 uptake in algae is regulated by the Rubisco enzyme. We select for species with extra efficient Rubisco (northern species usually have high-efficient Rubisco)

16 Conventional Microalgae cultivation UIT Finnfjord Concept Algae-type Green algae, blue-green algae, Diatoms Suitability Variable Good (Breeding-Lipid-Rubisco) Size Small (5 10 µm) Large ( µm) Reaktor-type Small (PBR) Large (ponds) Large (PBR) Light-path Short (0.1 1m) Long (1 6 m) Volume specific production High (1 5 g L -1 Day -1 ) Middle (0.5 2 g L -1 Day -1 ) Processing Difficult (small cells) Easier due to large-sized cells

17 Cultivation facilities: Five columns of 100 L volume. Abiotic parameters (ph, t, salinity, oxygen, light intensity, nitrate) are continually controlled. For more information see posters of our research group (Andrea Gerecht and Richard Ingebrigtsen)!

18 Conclusion: The present project is aimed at solving the problems associated with conventional microalgae cultivation by means of: -using northern lipid-rich diatoms with high Rubisco - efficiency - using large-sized (with high volume to surface ratio) microalgae (i.e. Coscinodiscus sp.) - using controllable cultivation conditions in a PBR (i.e. light, temperature, ph, etc.) -optimizing species characteristics by i.e. selective breeding Todays working biomass: g L -1 ( g L -1 Day -1 ) Thank you for your attention!

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