Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement factory flue gas in microalgae production. The industrial production facility is the expansion of a pilot plant that has been running for two years. It has recently been commissioned and is now producing food grade Chlorella vulgaris.
AlgaFarm was designed with four main sectors: Resources, Production, Processing and Management. Each sector is divided into several systems that together compose one of the largest microalgae closed system production facilities in the world, with a volume of 1300 m3.
The company’s downstream processing includes harvesting with ultrafiltration that concentrates the biomass to 5-10% dry weight. Pre-treatment includes pasteurization, spray drying and powder packing with O2 control. AlgaFarm has 24-7 staffed operations with a full control system for data acquisition, reporting and management.
Both of the founding companies have a strong commitment to sustainability and clean production technologies. Secil, the biggest Portuguese-owned cement company, with operations on four continents, has had a sustainability policy that looks for applications employing factory waste, including heat and CO2. A4F, a laboratory and technology development firm, has over 15 years of history in the design, construction and operation of microalgae production facilities.
Photo caption: The AlgaFarm JV is one of the largest microalgae closed system production facilities in the world
Reprinted with permission by the Algae Industry Magazine