Algae are a fascinating life form. They live as plantlike organism usually in water and conduct photosynthesis. Nevertheless, they do not belong to the conventional plants. Algae are distinguished between well visible multicellular macroalgae such as seaweed and microalgae less than one millimeter of size with one to several cells. Each and every algae cell is capable of photosynthesis as opposed to higher plants. The high surface to volume ratio enables a fast convective mass transport which leads to a significantly faster growth than terrestrial plants.
Microalage own all important characteristic of plants for an economical utilization: by utilization of nutrients common in conventional plant cultivation (e.g. N, P, Fe), energy derived by sunlight and CO2 as carbon source they build up organic carbon compounds, including many valuable substances, which are used for biomass production.
Since microalgae are cultivated in special photobioreactors on land they can be cultivated on otherwise lost barren soil. Hence microalgae cultivation is in no competition to food production.
Therewith microalgae are extremely potent organisms for the economical utilization for mankind.
It is estimated that there are between 250 000 up to millions of algae species. Thereof just 35 000 algae species are scientifically recorded. Currently about 5 000 algae species are available through culture collections and only 10 to 20 species are industrially cultivated. Already with these few algae species very different cultivations in account of content and energy output are possible. It is a stunning vision how much potential lies waiting in undiscovered species.
The group of discovered species is ever growing and with each new processing technique expands the field of application.
In human history cultivated species: algae are only cultivated in more recent past. Their potential is enormous and nowhere near exhausted.
Algae species cultivated in FPA-reactors so far (excerpt).
- Chlorella vulgaris
- Haematococcus pluvialis
- Phaeodactylum tricornutum
- Nannochloropsis oculata
- Tetraselmis suecica
- Chlorella sosokiniana
- Isochrysis spec.
- Dunaliella tertiolecta