The aim of the ALGADISK project is to develop a modular, scalable, and automatic biofilm reactor for algae biomass production, with low operational and installation costs. The reactor will be designed to capture CO2 from industrial emissions to produce high value organic products.
In this system, algae will be grown both in an aqueous environment and on biocompatible surfaces, allowing for CO2 absorption from either the gas or liquid phase. This method will dramatically increase the efficiency of the reactor and decrease water requirements. Automatic and continuous harvesting of algae will be designed to optimize CO2 uptake and biomass production. Adjusting the scale of the system will be trivial, as ALGADISK will have a modular design, and the footprint of installation will be considerably reduced, compared to technologies currently on the market. Design software will be provided - which based on user input - will suggest installation parameters, perform a cost/benefit analysis to calculate economic feasibility, and make predictions concerning the environmental sustainability of the system. The proposed system will be specifically crafted to meet the needs of European SMEs who are willing to produce algae biomass products from industrial emissions.
The critical need at European level is present for economically reliable alga biomass production. At this research and development field many countries, especially the United States is much ahead Europe. On the other hand, nor the land space, neither the capital is present for creation of huge application sites. The need can only be fulfilled by SMEs, that willing to apply innovative technologies for small scale algae production. On this market, however, the bottle neck is the lack of efficient, universal reactor, and information about sustainability and feasibility of algae production. The ALGADSIK project, is focusing on this need of SMEs, by developing a universal and scalable reactor system with appropriate design and prediction software.
The main innovation of the project is the development of the ALGADISK reactor by modification of a state of the art biological contractor. In addition to the ALGADISK reactor, the project will develop a software-based algae production and optimization design tool. The user will input the specific needs and conditions (i.e., amount of CO2 emitted, type of algae to be produced) and the design tool will output technical details of the appropriate system (i.e., size and number of modules, operating conditions).
The most crucial point is the determination of growth rate and growth conditions of different algae species on surfaces. The biocompatible surface suitable for the disc surface material will be researched extensively. The energy balance of the reactor will be optimized and prediction software will be developed which will allow future end users evaluating the different installation and operation scenarios.
The reactor set-up will be optimized to reach the targets of the user. It can be either receiving the most valuable products possible at a given site, or capturing the most CO2, etc. Economic feasibility and environmental sustainability calculations will also be provided. The ALGADISK reactor developed will be tested on site in the project framework.