About Microalgae

Technology perspective

Proposed algae, Nannochloropsis is a genus of marine algae under the algal class Eustigmatophyceae. It consists of about six species of algae, five of which are marine and one is freshwater. This project focused on the marine species, Nannochloropsis sp. The lipid composition was 79% TAG, 9% polar lipids, 2.5% hydrocarbons, and the rest being pigments, free fatty acids, and other various molecules.

The Nannochloropsis offers very good perspective in a near future market. The use of microalgae for bio energy production is an innovative activity.

The strain oil profile has chemical characteristic to convert to biodiesel by trans-esterification process or by Hydro-treating process to Jet fuel, and Gasoline.

Moreover the demand for new products and alternative sources of food and bioactive substances is increasing especially in the field of anti-ageing. The sector has grown 11.1% in past five years, giving us an idea of opportunities in this sector.

The sale of putative anti – aging products such as nutrition, physical fitness, skin care, hormone replacements, vitamins, and food supplements is a lucrative global industry.

State of the Art

Thousands of microalgae species have been listed, but only a few of them are commercially exploited. The main requirements for the feasibility of their industrial exploitation are their growth rate and their distinct biochemical composition. In this sense, examples of microalgae species commercially exploited today are chlorella and Nannochloropsis species the aquaculture sector spirulina for human consumption and dunaliella and Haematococcus for carotenoids production, such as beta carotene and astaxanthin respectively.

The oil production from different microalgae cultivated in laboratory or in pilot scale as well, carried out with productivity up to 35 % of dry biomass / dry weight.

Nannochloropsis strain 6016, has a lipid content of 52 dry wt%. As noted earlier, it is assumed that 80% lipid content is composed of TAG.(Moazami et al, 2011&2012 )

The result obtained with new isolated strain show higher growth rate and oil productivity were in the maxima range of other published studies

Technology Benefit

The microalgae offers higher growth rate and oil productivity were in the maxima range of other published studies.

Furthermore the high growth rate of the new strain provides greater annual production. The biomass productivity and the oil production potential could be projects to be more than 200 tons biomass and 100000 L oil per hectare per year, in an outdoor algal culture (300 day / year) in the Persian Gulf climate. Another interesting aspect involves the production of microalgae under controlled condition in compliance with manufacturing standards of GMP (Good manufacturing practice) ensuring the quality of the products.

Another strong point in the benefit of continuous or semi continuous culture production that supplied a flexibility to market demand:

  • Ability of semi continuous to continuous harvesting is another strong point and the benefit of process.
  • Harvesting takes place after the algae has reach to high cell density concentration, every day 30% of culture. It was transferred and collected at a harvest sump location and continuously pumped into high pressurized homogenizer. From here, the algae are continuously fed through a pipeline system to homogenizer where lipid extraction takes place From the clarifier, the lipid layer is siphoned off as the lipid stream. A lipid yield of 90% is assumed, which is within the range of 85% to 97The remaining water and biomass mixture is partially separated in the clarifier as well. The moist biomass cake enters the dryer, where water is boiled off until a dry biomass solid of 10% or less water content is left. This dry biomass can then be sold as livestock.
  • On the other hand, Nannochloropsis present an environmental plus value because in the process CO2 is consumed. Such strategies improve the environment friendly image of the company while the economic costs such carbon tax, can be reduced.
  • Another significant improvement of the microalgae process is the decreased number of steps in obtaining extracts , in the microalgae method all biomass is processed in high pressurizes homogenizer , the broken cell then separate into lipid , water , and biomass layers in a gravity clarifier without using solvent , Is a more straight forward process.
  • Finally, from the point of new bio-availability, the higher technological investments in microalgae could be compensated by recycling of water and by valuation of by products such as “Hydrolysates Amino acids, starch, other pigment, other lipids and minerals.
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