In recent years, microalgae have become a rapidly growing raw material for the production of biomass (biofuel) in many countries. In the meantime, however, it has been shown that important, higher-value components can also be extracted from microalgae for applications in food supplements (omega 3, etc.) and other pharmaceutical and medical areas. But uncontaminated raw materials of consistent quality are necessary for these products. Open water does not provide ideal conditions for this, which is why microalgae are growing more and more in closed systems of aquaculture.
Photosynthesis is the microalgae’s growth engine and to provide the necessary light, photo-bioreactors have been developed that offer the microalgae an ideal environment conducive to growth.
Since microalgae live in water, photo-bioreactors are water-holding containers whose walls are translucent.
In most cases, the most physically suitable tube design is used.
Vertically installed bioreactors require significantly less space and can economically produce large quantities of algae biomass using the energetically advantageous airlift process. However, the pressure on the tube wall, which increases as the water column rises, must be taken into account. The internal pressure is highest in the lower part of the water column and decreases in a straight line moving up the tube. For this reason, we have developed a complex process that allows us to regulate the wall thickness of our plastic tubes over the entire length. According to the static loads resulting from the internal pressure, we optimally adjust the wall thickness throughout the tube.
Our process allows the thickness of the tube wall to be adapted to the decreasing pressure load, allowing material savings of up to 25% while maintaining static integrity. In addition to a better environmental balance, this results in significant cost advantages due to reduced material costs and easier assembly due to the lower weight.
We have implemented many of these projects in recent years and have therefore acquired extensive manufacturing expertise for bioreactors and also have the corresponding equipment for the production of large and long tubes.