Microalgae biomass production

Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology

Algae are a natural renewable resource of unique products, little exploited until now, but which have an important role in solving dietary and health-related problems of future generations worldwide. Microalgae are undemanding and require only sunlight, carbon dioxide, phosphor and nitrogen to grow rapidly. They produce a broad variety of basic chemical substances such as vitamins, fatty acids and carotenoids with high added value potential for the pharmaceutical and food industries.

The Fraunhofer IGB is concentrating activities on two markets in the food supplement sector: natural astaxanthin, a red pigment with antioxidative properties, and highly unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids), which play an important role in human cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. For the production of algal biomass containing high-value substances we have developed at Fraunhofer IGB a specially designed low cost panel reactor built on the airlift-loop-principle.


  • Screening for microalgae and cyanobacteria
  • Development of photoautotrophic processes for microalgae and cyanobacteria in flat-panel airlift reactors from laboratory to technical plant scale
  • Process optimization for improving productivity and biomass yield
  • Development of processes for the isolation, separation and purification of algal products




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