As one of the northern most spirulina farms in operation today, this facility demonstrates the capability of algae microfarms in cooler climates and tests microfarms for growing algae for local food and high value products. Two ponds have insulating foam panels below and retractable cover above, all within a larger vegetable greenhouse to help keep algae culture water warm, increase productivity and extend the growing season beyond the summer months. This smart microfarm is monitored remotely by webcam and the daily data sent from the local operator.
Most common question over the past 35 years: “Can we grow algae at home or in our communities?” The answer used to be “Not yet”. Growing and processing required large scale production and expensive expert personnel on site.
But today, things have changed. Growing systems are simplified allowing lower cost of entry. Successful small scale business models already exist. Automated smart technology will reduce the need for experts on site. Modular growing systems will be deployed anywhere in the world.
First a brief look at the evolution of microalgae production over the past 35 years, since its rediscovery as a human food. From the first farms to large commercial farms today producing spirulina, chlorella, dunaliella, hematococcus and schizochytrium for a wide array of global products.
Then, over the past 30 years, the development of small farms in developing world villages in Africa and Asia leading to the emergence of algaepreneurs and the spirulina microfarm movement in France.
Most people have no idea how many everyday products contain algae. Algae is a primary or secondary ingredient in thousands of products for food, feed, color, nutraceutical, medicinal, personal care, biofertilizer, fine chemical, biofuel. Even more innovative algae based products are coming. Algae production costs will continue to fall, delivering healthy algae omega 3 oils and protein food and feed products, rebalancing our diets. We’ll see algae based resins, biopolymers, bioplastics and a range of specialty chemicals replacing today’s fossil fuel chemical products.
June Pharmaceuticals is one of the world’s largest producers of spirulina from both natural lakes and production ponds. The company produces about 200 tons of spirulina per year and offers a variety of healthy innovative products including dietary food supplements, beverages, extracts, cosmetics, personal care products, herbal products, biofertilizer and spirulina beer.
Twyn Taung Lake, a natural spirulina lake, is one of the natural wonders of the world.
Algae Competition awarded 7 prize winners from 40 finalists and 140 entries from 40 countries. The entries are a glimpse into our future, harnessing the promise of algae, 30 times more productive than terrestrial plants. Here are some emerging themes in algae landscape and architecture design, novel algae production systems and delicious new foods. There were ties for first place prizes. Competition winners, finalists and many entries will be recognized in upcoming media news releases, articles, videos, publications, exhibitions and Imagine Our Algae Future, a full color book based on the Algae Competition Available at Amazon.com.
How will growing algae change the world and improve our lives? Imagine our future living in cities where buildings are covered with photosynthetic skins and vertical gardens, collecting the sun’s energy and producing food and energy for urban citizens. Imagine greening desert coastlines and producing food for millions of people. Lets look into our future and see how algae will move into landscapes, living buildings, and eco communities producing local food and energy. Here are just a few of the emerging themes, schemes and dreams in algae architecture design, from the possibly practical to the utterly fantastic.