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Photovoltaic assisted algal carbon conversion bioreactor

To develop a novel hybrid led/solar algal photobioreactor. This bioreactor will utilize advances in dye solar cells, light delivery and dispersion, and artificial illumination to greatly increase the effectiveness of pond biofuels' algal carbon conversion process.

The algal carbon conversion (ACC) process is an emerging solution to the need for commercial point source emitters to reduce their carbon-related liability. This process utilizes the natural photosynthetic abilities of microalgae to convert concentrated carbon emissions into algal biomass. The biomass can then be converted into a variety of marketable products, including biofuels, protein feeds, fine chemicals, and bio-based materials. This turns the carbon conversion process into a source of profit for the participating company, as opposed to other emerging carbon capture technologies such as carbon capture and storage, which can be very expensive. This proposal aims to take advantage of the advances in renewable energy technologies that are occurring in Canada and Israel, and apply those advances to the development of a novel algae bioreactor system. Both countries have defined a need for clean renewable energy sources utilizing green technologies that will aid in the reduction of industrial GHG emissions. The reduction of GHG emissions, production of biofuels for the transportation section, and replacement of coal with renewable biomass in an economically sustainable business cycle - are all of critical bilateral interest. Large industrial emitters have been facing increasing public and political pressure to reduce or cap their emission levels. The nature of the manufacturing processes for all essential industries, which require large quantities of combustible fuels, however, and the increasing demand for their products, make this goal difficult if not impossible to achieve if industrial processes are not radically modified. The development of a commercial algal bioreactor growth system will afford an opportunity to significantly reduce atmospheric carbon emissions, and positively impact the carbon footprint of emitters – sustainability and economic viability are the ultimate goals. This project seeks to build on the strengths of innovative technological and scientific achievements of Canada and Israel in the development of green energy sources. Algae carbon conversion, biofuel production, and solar power technologies have been identified as areas of mutual strength for both countries that can be deployed for commercialization in the near term. The resulting synergies of this proposed collaboration will lead to the deployment of these technologies in industrial applications with commercialization commencing within three years. The goal of the project is to integrate best available lighting technology, including solar capture, photovoltaic technology, light delivery and dispersion, and artificial illumination using chip-on-board LED technology, into the design of an economically sustainable illumination system for a commercial enclosed photobioreactor, designed to convert CO2 from industrial stack gas and other emissions into algal biomass. The pivotal part of this system is a process by which natural solar illumination can be split into two parts that can be used for complementary purposes: a. Algae grow via the light-driven reactions of photosynthesis. However, not all the light provided by the sun is useful for growth. The photo-active region (PAR) of the solar spectrum, encompasses those wavelengths in the visible region, from about 400nm (blue) to about 700nm (deep red). The proposed system will separate out the photosynthetic wavelengths of solar light (400 – 700 nm) and deliver them directly to the photobioreactor to drive photosynthesis in the algae culture. b. Once the PAR regions of the spectrum have been separated for direct use in algae growth, the remaining portions of the solar spectrum will be converted to electrical energy through photovoltaic means. The combination of photovoltaic technology, light delivery techniques, and advanced artificial illumination methods into an existing photobioreactor framework has the potential to greatly improve the effectiveness of Pond Biofuels' existing algal carbon conversion technology.
Acronym: 
PAACB
Project ID: 
8 805
Start date: 
01-11-2013
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 460 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Liquid biomass
Market Area: 
Other alternative energy (including nuclear energy and uranium mining)

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.