Oilgae Club - an Online Community for Algae Fuel Enthusiasts Worldwide.

AlgaeNova's Blog


Hello friends,
After long years of preparation and planing we finaly are in the last phase of our project, - the construction of a photo bio reactor of considerable size here in Germany. We have chosen a proven PBR technology that has been developed here in Germany by our partner in this project NOVAGREEN

Since our international web-site is still under construction you can have a description of technical detail under :


I have followed the OILGAE newsletter now for quite some time and found it a rich seam of information and this OILGAE CLUB a very usefull forum which gives me great pleasure to participate.
Several days ago i wrote a critical inlay about the algae-bio-fuel-hype that some of you might have followed. But to come to the point , here a lot of information is gathered about who plans what, who finances whom and what could be done in future with algae, - but little information actually is given about how things are being done and, even more important, - is it worth it in an economical point of view. But that`s exactly what matters!
Algae breeding will only have a future if it becomes a common commodity and not only a substitute for something which is heavily subsidized to match competition, but as a clean-tech product with a clean ecological footprint for various applications. Solazyme is such a company that covers all aspects of algae related clean tech industry - but as far as I know they are not breeding.
Breeding is something we are starting with right from the beginning. If we later will refine our biomasses will be a matter of market development,but most likely it will come to that.
For this forum I will give an insight of our business activities and a little survey about the economics of how a algae plant could be operated :
(please follow the link exactly, otherwise the document will not open!).
Comments, advises and critics are wellcome!

Andreas Abraham
Tue April 13 2010 09:06:31 AM by AlgaeNova 3


Hallo and Guten Tag friends,

first I would like to ad just two more links giving some more facts for the "Light Management" information I previously wrote :

"An ancient light-harvesting protein is critical for the regulation of algal photosynthesis"



""Nature" article: researchers show how algae make surplus light energy harmless"



Every now and than we get contacted by producers of technical equipment related to the algae productio process. Here is the web-side link for the german manufacturer Hielscher :


Please visite this site and get informed. Any questions
about this technology are of interest!

Greetings AA
Wed March 31 2010 09:07:50 AM by AlgaeNova

Light Management

Algae breeding and Light Management

2007 the German Professor and Botanist, Dieter Hanelt took of again to Belize to for a research party on board of the small, very small research vessel ALDEBARAN. This was the beginning of a research programme which led him into the waters of China, Svalbard (an island far north of Norway), New Zeeland, the Mediterranean and Belize. One of the tasks was to document the influences of the climate change in the marine environment, the other was about algae.
He was going to prove that these, for the aquatic life, as well as for us humans so important producers of food, which are the very first in the marine food chain, react as sensitive as we humans on direct solar radiation. Extensive solar radiation causes a decrease in photosynthesis with the algae and this can have an influence on the total biocoenosis, which directly or indirectly is depending on algae.
The puzzling result of this research was that the algae species being harmed by solar radiation recovered real fast when the light conditions changed and the UV radiation decreased. The presence of UV-B light quickened the recovery process which implies that a physiological reaction is taking place. Algae species from deeper layers (about 15 m) did not show such effects, but got sunburned instead (shown dark brown spots of dead cell material).

Here we jump...

to a product called LADIVAL (developed in co-operation with Research Institute for environmental medicine in Duesseldorf and the LAVIDAL producer STADA AG).
We are suddenly talking about a Suntan Lotion!
But here`s the solution.
Algae have very different protection mechanism against solar radiation:
Red algae (rhodophyta) are reducing their amounts of their red light collecting proteins, and addition substances similar to melanin are being produced. Melanin (MAA- an amino acid) is a substance also protecting the human skin against the sun.If you have too little of it in your skin - you know what happens....
We people here in the northern part of Europe definately know what could happen - we could get a Melanom - Skin cancer!
Blue algae (Cyanobakteria) primarily living right underneath water surface are protecting themselves by producing an enzyme called Photolyase.
As oxidative damages caused by solar radiation can cause even the death of algae, nature invented the light collecting protein LHCSR3.
Surplus light energy will be transferred into thermal energy and this again produces the enzyme the pharmaceutical industry became so fond of.
Photolyase has the capability to recognize cells damaged by UV-B rays and repair them. The cells of human skin does not have a similar enzyme, but photolyase won from Algae cultures does have the same positive effect also for our skin.

Thus algae became mothers little helper.

Here we jump again, - and back to the arctic cold.

We are again in the waters around Svalbart, Spitzbergen (you remember! ? north of Norway! I have been there myself a couple of times. Fascinating ? but far too cold for a decent living.).
The French-German science group AWIPEV are doing some research, beside others, on the effect of UV radiation on the algae species there. They detected that UV light is reducing the population of brownalgae (phaeophyceae) whereas the spores and germ cells are reacting extremely sensitive upon UV rays. Even UV light in very small dosis will damage the Spores when drifting on the water and thus preventing them to bloom. Other species just dive of, - retreating into deeper waters if the solar radiation increases. Also here there productivity deminish.
I will not go on about the consequences and all the reason that caused all this changes of our environment. We are working all together on something to change this to the better, - don`t we!?

If light is so vitally important for algae as much as too much light is damaging, - just how much light do we need for algae breeding in a PBR system?

And what can we learn from all this?
They need light, off course, but are shy of direct solar radiation. How can we measure how much light? We use a patented Model-Reactor (Pat.Nr. 202007013 401.1) with an LED light source to find out the optimum growth level of algae species. Here we can simulate the light conditions of Germany, Spain, Australia or even India. Also different nutrition requirements can be tested. It has shown for us that here in Central Europe only 10% of solar radiation is necessary to achieve an optimum growth rate. Thus algae cells are converting 5% of the given light into bio energy (something that i.e. the sugar cane can only do with 1% effectiveness). We are able to boost the productivity of algae up to 100 gram per m? per day with this method of finding the right specie. But we even learned more. In a compact algae culture which is mixed up by streaming water, some algae will come into the (light) surface, some will return into the dark. From the view of an algae cell it might appear as if the light is flickering. This Disco-light effect was researched as well. Surprisingly the algae liked it very much! They are able to store the captured light and will use it later, in the dark, for their growth.

I hope I could give some enlightening information(even though it is given in my limited English)to show potential algae breeder how important the factor light is. Since we are growing algae in PBR`s installed in green houses, we had to shade the reactors in summer time even here in Europe to optain an optimum growth rate. We have now Photovoltaic collectors on the roofs of the green houses (partly ? that means roof sides to the south with collectors, other half free) and are very satisfied with this arrangement. For all of these who operate with ponds ? how`s your light management?

Next time I will present our PBR-system.
Thank you for your interest,
Wed March 24 2010 11:09:36 PM by AlgaeNova

Is it a hype?

Guten Tag,

all you members of this exclusive community and these two new friends which I already have made, but do still not know how to address them (and faceless too they are!).

The algae industry is starting from the top!

So is it hype!?

I read a lot in all these newsletters from OILGAE to BIOFUELs DIGEST about how algae will solve the coming energy crisis. It seems that enormous amounts of money are floating to nearly every firm or research institution claiming they are producing algae to make all kind of fuel out of them. But with the same I read that all these firm are either in a kind of research stadium or just starting or planning to produce. Industrial scale units which are producing masses (that?s what its all about - its biomasses you have to produce to make a living out of algae culturing!)I find nearly nowhere.
Not before long the impatient finance industry will make a call for success. And what has the algae bio fuel industry (if there is such) then to present?

"XXXX Capital is following a specific approach to investing in algae companies. This approach is linked to its emerging prize competition. Specific details of this competition have not yet been released. We are planning a significant announcement during the second quarter of 2010. We anticipate this announcement will contain additional details concerning not just the competition, but the investment criteria linked to the competition."

This quotation is from an investor who states they are providing capital to environment start-ups worldwide.
Now if the algae industry has to prove how competitive they are, will they be able to do so?
Many times I have asked myself, why are all these (mostly American firms) are trying to climb a mountain starting from the top?
Our PBR-project that we are starting here in Germany will be 18.8 ha (44.4789 acre) and have an estimated production output of 2000 tons per year. Not one single kilogram will be for bio fuel production and the production is already been sold for a satisfying profit. This will give us time and money enough to have a look at bio fuel production and no investor will be sitting in our neck.
See what I mean, first prove that algae breeding is a rewarding and sustainable industry able to earn its money, - then go for the top.........
If you feel on the way up that your expectations where set to high you can always return in safety - but starting from the top you can only go down.
Andreas Abraham ? algaenova at email dot de
Mon March 22 2010 04:35:30 PM by AlgaeNova 6