Subitec's goal is to find customer-oriented solutions to enable research facilities and industry to benefit from microalgae biotechnology. This was the key to develop a fully automatic FPA reactor.
Subitec expands its business activities to incorporate an anti-aging product gained from a snow algae. A specially designed FPA system for the cultivation of the carotenoid-rich snow algae in a two-phase process was built for the cosmetic industry.
Subitec planed, delivered and installed a large-scale production plant in 2015 for a European customer. Single FPA reactors are combined into modules, which are assembled to an plant with an area size of 1 acre.
Several pilot and scale-up plants were planed, coordinated and installed for renowned customers since the operational business has been comenced. Here named as an example is the in- and outdoor scale-up plant in Leuna/Germany with a total volume of 12 000 liter built in 2014.
Subitec moves into new premises in Stuttgart-Degerloch. On a laboratory and office area of more than 700 m² a great number of 6 L laboratory FPA-reactors and a total number of 8 28 L FPA-reactors may be operated. Furthermore, analytics are established in order to promote own R&D efforts or customer specific process development. The new location accommodates up to 25 staff members so that there is no limit to growth within the next years.
A second round financing of 4.5 Mio. € is the basis for further business development and internationalization: besides the already existing investors HTGF and Fraunhofer Venture Subitec GmbH was able to obtain the VC-invenstor eCAPITAL from Münster, Germany and the KFW as new investors.
Two further pilot plants begin their operation. Both are mounted in greenhouses and allow for yearlong operation. On behalf of GMB GmbH/Vattenfall one plant is constructed in Senftenberg, Germany and in behalf of FairEnergie GmbH one plant is constructed in Reutlingen, Germany.
For the first time, after the 180 Liter version of the Flat Panel Airlift Reactor, also the 6 and 28 Liter FPA's were manufactured with the twin-sheet technology and replaced the adhesive techonology used so far. This optimized the process integration and reduced costs.
Start of operation of two pilot plants in behalf of two renowned power suppliers. On behalf of EnBW a plant using flue gases from a biogas fired combined heat and power unit is constructed in Eutingen-Weitingen. On behalf of E.ON a plant using flue gases from a natural gas fired combined heat and power unit is constructed in Hamburg Reitbrook. Furthermore, the third generation photobioreactor with an increased effective volume of 180 L was developed.
Dr. Peter Ripplinger accepts the position as General Manager of Subitec GmbH and starts with the build-up of operational business. In April 2007, a seed financing is successfully raised by the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and the coinvestor Dr. Helmut Hengstenberg. Subitec expands its business strategy on biomass refinery concepts, integrated processes and energetic used in the long-term. Meanwhile the first generation of deep-drawn 180 Liter FPAs were commissioned.
2000 – 2006
In close cooperation with IGB Subitec processes different algae strains and refines the FPA-photobioreactor technology in the first years past foundation. Hereby, the focus was put on the production of astaxanthin and the omega-3-fatty acid EPA.
Subitec GmbH is founded as spin-off of the IGB on September 27th 2000. Hereby, initiative was taken by Prof. Dr. Walter Trösch and Prof. Dr. Herwig Brunner as well as other scientists of the IGB. A second patent application, referring to the construction of the FPA-reactor, takes place. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. München, Germany, acquires shares of the company by transferring both patent families to Subitec.
Under guidance of Dr. Ulrike Schmid-Staiger the first worldwide patent application takes place. The patent refers to the novel Flat Panel Airlift (FPA) photobioreactor.
Prof. Dr. Walter Trösch, in his function as Head of the department Environmental Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering (UBT) of the Fraunhofer Institute of Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, engages the topic microalgae. Soon findings are made that microalgae are superior to terrestrial plants due to their higher growth rate and that their relevance for CO2 sequestration and substantial and energetic utilization will increase in future.