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.
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.
Process development in photobioreactors and scale-up
We optimize microalgae cultivation processes in flat-panel airlift reactors developed at Fraunhofer IGB in laboratory scale with the aim of transferring them to outdoor production conditions. For an optimized outdoor process, we have developed an automation concept with simple measurement technology. A scale-up is possible in our pilot plant at Fraunhofer CBP in Leuna.