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Breakthrough in algae cultivation with underwater LED light

With the application of underwater LED light, the farming business of Kelstein in Hallum has to do with a breakthrough in growing algae.

Wageningen University recently calculated the maximum algae production per hectare in the Netherlands at 50,000 pounds. The discovery at the farm of John and Douwe Zijlstra in Hallum brings about a yield that could be three times higher. This brings the large scale production of biodiesel from algae closer. Kelstein is coached by Algae Food & Fuel. This is a joint initiative of Tendris, BioSoil and Solarix.

Algae and biological digesters form an ideal combination. Behind the cowshed and the impressive digester at the farm of father Jan and son Douwe Zijlstra from Hallum, a small greenhouse with several basins has been built.

These basins contain algae that are fed with the waste products from the digester, like warmth, CO2 and nutrient rich waste water.

An other important production factor is light. Because without light there would be no growth and no reproduction. And just in this field we have made an great discovery. We have discovered that the algae yield is the same in a covered basin as in a open basin. Both the basins are lighted with LED-light.

This opens huge possibilities for the cultivation of algae. If warmth, Co2 and nutrition are available, with this energy saving light, we can cultivate algae 24 hours a day!

In addition to that we can create circumstances that are equal the whole year round. This uniformity is very important when cultivating algae. Also the cultivation basins require less strict directives.

The special underwater LED light is developed by Tendris from Almere, the Netherlands. This company is shareholder of Algae Food & Fuel.

AF&F participates in the large algae survey that is conducted by Wetsus, the water technology institute in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Nevertheless, biofuel does not have the highest priority. Algae are such a high quality products, therefore nutrition for humans and animals should be number one. From the production remains one could produce biodiesel.

An other huge discovery is that the CO2 rich off gas, which is produced by the generator, can be dosed to the reactor without any refining. Matters as NOx and So2 do not influence the cultivation, but have, off course, a positive effect on the cost price.

It is of much importance that we accomplish a continuous process, because the digester continuously provides warmth, Co2 and nutrients. If AF&F and Kelstein master this, the time will be ready to upscale the project. With funding of different authorities the project can be explored further until 2012.

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