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Agriculture Organic farming, remineralization, rock dust, biochar, soil micro organisms and other discussion relating to soil, water and food.

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:02 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Growing Algae...

I'm starting this thread to discuss the growing of Algae, be it for food consumption, fuel production or for other purposes.

I’m personally looking at the food consumption area of Algae growing, I’ll be using this thread to post links to resources that I have found.

The one thing that I have noticed when doing my research is that there is a lot of varying information, even conflicting information. Take Spirulina (AKA Spirulina platensis, AKA Arthrospira platensis), I’ve read articles stating that optimal growth temp is at 35C (which some say will kill the algae) other’s as low as 18-24C (which others say will slow down the growth and isn’t optimal).

Getting cultures is another problem area, first it’s deciding which culture to get. UTEX has a number of cultures, but figuring out which one to get for human consumption is a problem as I’ve read of different types being used. Some labs have them, in the case of UTEX they have multiple of the same type from different ares, while other labs don’t have any. Then you have the cost, each culture sample isn’t cheap, especially if one is trying to keep the experimentation costs down.

I’m looking to test and use a number of differ methods as discussed in this forum, e.g., LED lights, magnetic fields, grow plates etc.

Anyway some good links:
Basic Photo Bio Reactor examples: AlgaeGeek.com

Bio Reactor research paper:
Gueguin-Kana et al. Constructional features of a 15-litre home-made bioreactor for fed-batch fermentations. Afr. J. Biotechnol. 2003 August;2(8):233-236. [Full text]
Bio Reactor Low Cost

Manual on the Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture (this book, available free online seams to be where some online sellers are getting their information, that they turn around and sell in ebook form)
Table of Contents


The following is quite a good page covering a lot of area from stock solutions and media preparations to freezing culture for storage.
Culturing information | NIES Collection

Patent: An Economical and Efficient Method for Mass Production of Spirulina
(WO/2006/018668) AN ECONOMICAL AND EFFICIENT METHOD FOR MASS PRODUCTION OF SPIRULINA

Couple of more research papers:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00019-0101.pdf
ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/011/i0424e/i0424e00.pdf
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:48 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Cyanotech grow their spirulina using sea water, food-grade baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and carbon dioxide. They also add some Food grade fertilisers.

Just found the following paper which lists over 40 Spirulina cultures and where they are located all in a single easy to access file:
Arthrospira ([]Spirulina&rsquo strains from four continents are resolved into only two clusters, based on amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis of the internally transcribed spacer - Scheldeman - 2006 - FEMS Microbiology Letters - Wiley Onli

A lot of the Culture Collections of the World listed in one place:
Home Pages of Culture Collections in the World

Another site with good information:
Index
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:13 PM
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One of the growing media that a lot of the culture labs use is Ultramarine Synthetica sea salts (made by Waterlife - waterlife.co.uk). Its salt used to setup marine aquariums.

For those in the US, that are some distance from the sea - a company called Catalina Water Company, LLC (see: catalinawater.com) ships filtered sea water.

The cheapest option would be to buy dryed sea minerals (compared to shipping sea water) and makeing your own sea water. One company that sells sea minerals is seaagri.com, they mine it at the same location Dr. Murray (who wrote Sea Energy Agriculture) got his sea minerals from.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:58 PM
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This is a superb thread, Savvy. I've been wondering what to do about a Spirulina supply, what with Codex Alimentarius looming on the horizon.

I'll follow your information and progress carefully.

Thanks

Vic
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:02 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Vic,

Welcome to the green side. It's nice to know someone else is also interested in this area.

Anyway, back to my listing of info (if anyone else has anything to contribute - please do).

As I stated above, I'm going to be testing LED's, but I will also be using natural sunlight (you can’t beat free). The only issue is blocking UV and possibly inferred (heat, especially in the summer - as I’m planning on doing this in doors).

I found a UV coating called “Digi Coat UV Protection Sublimation Coating”, it looks like it’s mainly for printing type work. But I wonder if it could be used to coat an acrylic sheet to be used as a filter (as acrylic has very good optical properties, less light distortion), to reduce UV wavelengths.

I know that there are light systems which remove UV and inferred, then pipe the light via fibre optics to the end locations. I’d only consider that in a diy situation if I can find good cheap filters and cheap fibre optic cable. As these light systems cost a lot and I’m trying to keep this low cost and easy to build and run.

I’m planing on growing the algae in "bioreactors" that I build, if I go down the tube style reactor, then I’ll be rolling my own - literally, as sheet acrylic is a lot cheaper than tube acrylic.

This may come up later so I’ll preempt the question by answering it. To learn how to work with acrylic, just do a google search on: how to build an acrylic fish tank. Most of that information will come in handy. The only sticking point is on the acrylic solvent that is normally used in the tutorials. In the USA they normally use Weldon, for those outside the USA you’ll need something like: Tensol Cement Adhesive (for those in the UK I’ve just saved you the leg work). Or just ask your acrylic supplier for what they recommend, if your supplier doesn't know, ask them or their acrylic manufacture for the manual on how to use the acrylic.

Also there are limits to the water volume you can have in a single extruded acrylic tank/tube/reactor/container. If you're planning on a large volume per tank/tube/reactor/container you'll need to get and use cast acrylic - I.e. clear cast acrylic, it's more expensive but it's also stronger than extruded acrylic. If you’re just sticking to smaller volumes then you’ll be fine with the extruded acrylic (this information is also covered in some tutorials on how to build fish tanks).

That's it for now, back to my research and ebay bargain hunting.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:31 PM
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I'm interested in this also. Thanks so much for providing so much information. Is all spirulina grown by man or is there also a natural source and if so, where does it normally grow? The answer to this may help with determining the right temperature. 35C seems like a pretty high temperature to me for algae growth, but I can see where nature may not provide the ideal environment for maximizing production.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImBill View Post
I'm interested in this also. Thanks so much for providing so much information. Is all spirulina grown by man or is there also a natural source and if so, where does it normally grow? The answer to this may help with determining the right temperature. 35C seems like a pretty high temperature to me for algae growth, but I can see where nature may not provide the ideal environment for maximizing production.
It grows naturally in a lot of places. The peoples in the Republic of Chad collect the algae from the lakes for food consumption.

In the following paper: Spirulina, the edible microorganism. (see here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC283708/). It details the Chad example above as well as how the native people of Mexico, during the time of the Conquistadors - harvested algae and made bread from it.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:24 AM
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It seams a lot of the leg work has been done by a Dr. Ripley D. Fox who wrote: Spirulina: Production & Potential - (ISBN 2 85744 853 X). It doesn't seam to be available on any non French book sites.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:17 PM
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How to build a laminar flow hood:
- Lotte & Thomas Orchids
- Laminar Flow Hood - Build a HEPA filter flowhood | Fungifun

Using a laminar flow hood for Spirulina production may be over the top, especially if you keep the pH high - at about 10ish. But if you want to also grow say Chlorella or Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), they would need to be grown in a sterile environment. So as to avoid contamination by unwanted algae and bacteria. That's when the laminar flow hood would be required, you would also need to filter the air being pumped into the grow media - an example filter is shown in the: Manual on the Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture - which I linked to in my opening post.

For Chlorella and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), you basicly need to filter everything as both algae grow in "normal" water conditions which are the same water conditions in which other algae (some toxic) and bacteria normally grow in. Enclosed bioreactors with everything going in it being filtered, would be the way to do it.


On the Spirulina culture, you want to make sure that you get only spiral Spirulina as the non spiral Spirulina is a mutation. Also the spiral is what allows for the Spirulina to float, while the non spiral mutation doesn't float as well.

This floating phenomena is something to remember when building/setting up your grow container (whatever form it takes).

Another interesting phenomena is that light penetration past 4 inches of thick Spirulina falls off sharply.

One (1) square meter of pond grow area will yield from 5 to 10 grams a day of Spirulina. I've read that bioreactors are more efficient than ponds, and produce a greater yield. The ponds are mainly used because they are cheaper to setup compared to bioreactors.



Two more references:
Cultivez Votre Spiruline (its in French - google translate doesn't translate everything. If anyone who can read French could translate the document, that would be greatly appreciated):
- http://pagesperso-orange.fr/petites-...les/Manuel.pdf

- http://www.technap-spiruline.org/

Growing spirulina (a teaching module):
- http://www.antenna.ch/en/documents/Modu_UK.pdf

The above document was taken from the following site:
- Documents | Antenna Technologies Foundation
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:19 PM
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kool video

YouTube - A Shipload of Algae
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:23 PM
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From the image of the alage they showed in the video it looks to be an algae called Scenedesmus.

From the the algae lab forum I found the following (as well as the phenomena I listed above).

The amount of algae needed to run a 5kW generator (the interesting bit is in blue):

Quote:
Biofuels:
1. Is the biofuels a gas or liquid?
Can be either, algae generate oils, and/or they can be digested for biogas.
2. How big of a system would be needed to fuel a 5K gen-set system underground?
5kW @ 25% efficiency (typical) = 20kW * 3600 seconds/hr = 72MJ/hr; this means roughly 2L of biodiesel; if algae generate 10g of oil/m^2/day, you'd need about 180 square meters of algae per hour you want to run the genny.
3. I then can utilize its exhaust and exhaust heat
Yes, many algae grow faster when warm.
4. Would this be a pressurized system to feed the gen-set?
if you're making biogas & running a propane genny, a blower is needed to push the gas into the engine.
5. For Diesel or regular engines usage?
Biodiesel for diesel gen is what I'd recommend.
6. The underground system will have all air filtered throughout entry and exit.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:32 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Originally Posted by theremart View Post
From the image of the algae they showed in the video it looks to be an algae called Scenedesmus. The name on the tube in the second part of the video was Botryococcus braunii - both species of algae area being tested and used for biofule production.

From the the algae lab forum I found the following (as well as the phenomena I listed above).

The amount of algae needed to run a 5kW generator (the interesting bit is in blue):

Quote:
Biofuels:
1. Is the biofuels a gas or liquid?
Can be either, algae generate oils, and/or they can be digested for biogas.
2. How big of a system would be needed to fuel a 5K gen-set system underground?
5kW @ 25% efficiency (typical) = 20kW * 3600 seconds/hr = 72MJ/hr; this means roughly 2L of biodiesel; if algae generate 10g of oil/m^2/day, you'd need about 180 square meters of algae per hour you want to run the genny.
3. I then can utilize its exhaust and exhaust heat
Yes, many algae grow faster when warm.
4. Would this be a pressurized system to feed the gen-set?
if you're making biogas & running a propane genny, a blower is needed to push the gas into the engine.
5. For Diesel or regular engines usage?
Biodiesel for diesel gen is what I'd recommend.
6. The underground system will have all air filtered throughout entry and exit.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:08 AM
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I did a major search for the Ripley Fox book - nothing Except as you say a seller in France. I really don't like their payment methods though.

There must be a copy of that book out there somewhere that we can get our hands on.

You're doing great work, Savvy. I am going to take seriously the idea of growing my own - once you've done the hard work that is
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:43 AM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Originally Posted by life4living View Post
I did a major search for the Ripley Fox book - nothing Except as you say a seller in France. I really don't like their payment methods though.

There must be a copy of that book out there somewhere that we can get our hands on.

You're doing great work, Savvy. I am going to take seriously the idea of growing my own - once you've done the hard work that is
I've emailed Dr. Fox asking if his book is out of print and if he could sell it as an ebook - we'll see if he replies (if the email address is correct).

The link for the pdf called "Cultivez Votre Spiruline" (that I posted above) - it's a complete manual on how to grow Spirulina. The only issue is that it's in French, and my French is worse than googles.

If I don't receive a reply from Dr. Fox, I'll see if my aunt can translate the book.

For those in The USA, I have good news for you - a group called AlgaeLab (see: algaelab.org) do live workshops on how to grow Spiruline and biofuel. The workshops take place in Santa Cruz and LA - though they seam to keep rescheduling all the workshops - and it looks like one hasn't taken place in a long time. On their website they have a diy kit you can buy, costs $199 - you should be able to get most of the kit cheaper elsewhere. The tank isn't included, so you need to find a local pet shop which sells fish tanks if you want to go down the fish tank route.

They sell a Live Spirulina Starter culture separately at $49, for that price you get a 1 liter bottle of Spirulina shipped to you (shipping and handling included). $49 for a 1 liter bottle is the best price I have seen, as some culture labs will charge you upwards of $150 even $500 for that amount of culture.

If your not going to mix your own nutrients/medium that you need to feed the algae with, they also sell that.

Going through their forum which doesn't have that many posts - seams deserted. It looks like they are basing a lot of what they do on the information in the pdf: "Growing spirulina (a teaching module)" which I linked to in a previous post above.

For those in the USA, possibly Canada, you can get started.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:39 PM
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As I've been doing my research, I've been keeping a running list in my head of the things that I may need to get. I'm putting it hear to have as a reference for others who are following along.

Container for the algae to grow in:
To start out I'm thinking of just buying some see through drinks bottles from a wholesale bottles company, as the family and I don't buy enough clear bottles to be able to start. If I were to go out and buy say water bottles from the corner shop, it will be more expensive.

Update: I'll be heading to Tesco to buy their own brand still water, which is 0.17p a 2l bottle - Asda is 0.16p a bottle but the bus fair (as I don't have a local one) will put it over the top, compared to Tesco which is a 10 minute walk from me.

Building the bioreactor out of acrylic will come later, once I have a workable growing system in place.

Nutrients/medium:
I'm thinking* of ordering some sea minerals to make seawater at home, then getting some food-grade baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and some iron supplement. To keep the process simple, and not have to order a whole bunch of different chemicals and then mixing them together.

* Before I order the sea minerals, I'll be doing the figures to see if it is cost effective to do so or to actually mix my own artificial nutrients/medium from locally available sources.

Means of stirring/moving :
Aquarium air pump, will also be building a silencer - basically a container with a lot of foam into which the air pump will go in. The reason being is that some air pumps make a lot of noise (and I do mean a lot of noise, especially if I'm going to be buying cheap ones).

The air pump can also be used to make uplift tubes, which can be used to pump out or circulate the water/Spirulina (or other algae). With just the up-flow of air through the tube. If you go with the pond type setup, you can use the uplift tubes in the corners to circulate the water/Spirulina. And solve the issue that people seam to have with little circulation in the corners.

The air pump is a "kill two birds with one stone" kind of tool - if used the way I said above. I'll be getting some battery backup ones, in case the power goes out.

With air pumps, you'll also need air lines and one way check values (you don't want the Spirulina and medium being sucked back into the air pump when the power goes out or when the pump fails).

Will need a filter, to filter the air - for Spirulina, something simple just to minimise the house dust entering the bottles through the air pump. The high pH should prevent anything else from growing with the Spirulina.

If your going to grow other algae (which I'm thinking of doing later on), more robust filters will be needed possibly UV ones.

Light source:
The cheapest source is natural sunlight, only issue is the UV and the heat. I'm still looking at how to make a UV screen filter - I may just buy a sheet of film that you can get to stick to your windows, to minimise the UV and inferred. My only concern is the drop in the amount of other wave lengths that it lets through. Only a real problem in the winter on non sunny days, and over cast days where it could be an issue. I just reread what I just wrote and it hit me, that on those days - the filter won't be needed as much.

I'll be testing LED grow lights that I make, once I have my basic growing system producing Spirulina.

Heating/cooling:
To heat the water to the right temp, I'll be getting an aquarium heater, depending on how much volume I have to heat. For the bottle setup I'll probably end up with a tank, into which I'll fill with water and then place the bottles - the larger water volume will prevent sudden temp changes and dissipate the IR/heat from natural sunlight. To ensure an even temp, the trusty uplift tubes will also be employed.

In the summer I may end up having to cool the tank quite a bit as the main windows of the house are all south facing. I'll be looking at either buying an aquarium chillier, unlikely as they are too expensive for what they do, and I could buy a normal freezer for the same amount of money.

Or building a cheap heat exchanger, using 4L ice cream tubs filled with water that's been frozen into blocks of ice. Which I make in my normal freezer, and just keep rotating the tubs.

Measurement/testing:
I bought and just received a pack of 10 aquarium thermometers (they were cheap on ebay, cost me 99p each with free shipping - cheaper than buying individual ones and if I have multiple grow bottles - I'll need more than a couple).

I've got my eye on some cheap Microscopes (it may not actually be needed to grow Spirulina - but would be fun to have). I'm looking at the cheap ones you can buy children (sorta like the chemistry sets, but these ones are a biology/bug set - with upto 600x magnification on the Microscopes). I may not need the Microscope as on ebay you can get a portable jewellers loupe/Microscope which does upto 200x magnification for about 6 ($10 or so).

pH test kit - on ebay, the digital ones are quite cheap, found one for about 6 with shipping from china. Will still need to buy calibration fluid as it doesn't come with it (about 3 - 4 [1 is about $1.59 - as of this posting]). With the amount of testing one would be doing, I'd want to make sure the thing is always calibrated - especially before harvesting.

You could instead get an aquarium pH test kit - some will end up costing more than the digital one and the calibration fluid. You’ll need the high range test kits, or one that does a wide range (check to make sure it goes up past a pH of 10). One word of warning, not all brands of a aquarium test kits are equal, nor are they that accurate - they only give you an approximation of the levels your testing for. One thing they all have in common is they cost a lot, test kits seam to be the only thing in the aquarium hobby market that you can’t easily DIY yourself (unless your a chemist with a lab).

Secchi disk will also be needed, to determine the amount of Spirulina.
Harvisting:
Getting the 50 micron cloth is looking to be an issue as I have only found fish tank/biodiesel filter socks on ebay. On alibaba.com I have seen 50 micron steel mesh and nylon mesh cloth, but they require large order quantiys.

The filter socks will do, although they are quite think and will only know if they actually work once I use them.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:34 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Just found a power point which covers a lot of the research done comparing ponds vs bioreactors. (see: The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing).

For small scale systems, bioreactors are better - but for large scale production - there is not much difference except for cost. A lot of commercial bioreactor "farms" shut down or end up rarely being used. One was setup at a cost of more than $1 million and closed after 2 weeks.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:36 PM
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The last reference document (i0424e00.pdf) I linked to in my first post is very interesting.
On page 11 there is a formula for a cheap medium which performs just as well as the Zarrouk medium.

On page 13 it talks about how light is the limiting factor during summer, when self shading is highest. If anyone has seen the alcohol can be a gas video, there is a section in it where David Blume states that in monoculture fields, the cops can only use something like 30% of the light during the day. That by mid morning the crops just shutdown as they have received too much light to process. Spirulina looks to do something similar.

Some interesting quotes:

Quote:
When the cells were grown under red light illumination, β-carotene content was highest followed by that under blue light and white light, respectively.
Quote:
It was also found that β-carotene content was increased with increasing NaCl in the medium.
On page 14:
Quote:
The photosynthetic activity of the culture grown at 25 C was directed more
towards carbohydrate synthesis than toward protein synthesis.
A temp of 35C produces more protein, while the lower 25C results in more carbohydrates.

Also the lower temp results in a greater over night loss than the 35C culture. At 35C you produce more Spirulina at harvest time than you would if you had grown it at 25C. I'm just paraphrasing here but it's all covered in the first part of page 14.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:41 PM
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Here’s an interesting way to use IBC tanks to grow large volumes of algae:
YouTube - algae bioreactor at night
If only you could get clear see through IBC's.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:58 PM
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Here's a very interesting bioreactor design.

YouTube - PYRAMID PHOTOBIOREACTOR

The claims made about the design of the system don't seam to tally, until you really watch the video.

The Pyramids only hold the algae while they are in what I’m calling the solar bathing zone. Underneath the Pyramids, you’ll see a storage tank that holds the larger part of the water volume. The large volume of the system prevents sudden heat fluctuations, as you’ll get in a smaller volume system. The bioreactor just reminds me of a aquarium + sump setup that's just been adapted to grow algae.

The whole volume of water is cycled through the Pyramids to receive sunlight, then back to the storage tank. Which seams like a good way to prevent the algae from self shading, and not having the sun, be the limiting factor in the summer.

The makers claim that with their design one could produce up to 1.45g per liter, a 100 tons capacity system would produce 145kg per day in 60 square meters of space.

They have a pdf on their website that compares different systems, below I've listed the productivity figures for each system (as stated in their pdf):
Well system = 0.9g per liter, a 100 tons capacity well system would produce 90kg per day in 25 square meters of space.

Tubular system = 0.8g per liter, a 100 tons capacity tubular system would produce 80kg per day in 1200 square meters of space.

Plastic bag system = 0.6g per liter, a 100 tons capacity plastic bag system would produce 60kg per day in 1200 square meters of space.

Closed pond system (ponds in side green house) = 0.35g per liter, a 100 tons capacity closed pond system would produce 35kg per day in 250 square meters of space.

Open pond system (not in green house) = 0.35g per liter, a 100 tons capacity open pond system would produce 35kg per day in 250 square meters of space.

If I had the space and a suitable location. I'd get 2 or 3 new unused IBC tanks or some other food grade water storage tanks. Build 2 or 3 acrylic flat plate photobioreactors, and setup 2 or 3 1,000+ litre systems. Even if my design could only produce half the daily amount - about 0.73g per liter a day, that would still be a lot if you had 2 or 3 1,000+ liter capacity systems. Lets say a nice round 1kg a day from just 2 systems.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:37 PM
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In a previous post, I talked about using uplift tubes - on the following page you can see how to build them: The DIY air lift

Here's one in action: YouTube - DIY air pump powered filter

Things to keep in mind are:
Keep the right angle bends (or any sharp bends) to a minimum, as your moving water through the tubes.

The higher you want to lift the water, the more air you're air pump will need to pump.
A good example is the following video: YouTube - Pump water with air where the water comes out in spurts compared to the previous video.
Don't forget your non return valves on the air tube.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:52 PM
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You must be an expert on this by now, Savvy. Looking forward to the idiots guide. Or is it already up?

Seriously, any luck on UK culture sources?
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:57 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Vic,

Most of the information needed is listed and linked to, in this thread.

The biggest problem is the culture sources. I don't really want to go down the culture lab route, as they are not really geared to selling to non companies/institutions. You should see some of the prices they charge for just 15ml of culture. Then you have the shipping - they don't skimp on that. At some labs if you just order one culture, the shipping is the same cost as the culture.

I've found the original culture that Cyanotech grow (it's listed in one of the pdf's in their research section). It's UTEX culture 1926. Importing it into the UK could be problematic, I’d need to look at the UK import regulations. But only after UTEX have sorted out their contamination issue that they state on their site. Culture 1926 seams to be one of those that currently can’t be ordered.

My preference would be to buy from someone that is already growing and eating the stuff - rather than buying cultures from a lab.

I'm currently waiting for a reply to an email I sent to the Antenna Technologies Foundation (I’ve linked to some of their information above), I’ve read that they may be able to supply Spirulina.


On a different note:
I just came across the following paper: Effects of using light-emitting diodes on the cultivation of Spirulina platensis by Chih-Yu Wang; Chun-Chong Fu; Yung-Chuan Liu

Abstract:

Quote:
Various light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with different light wavelengths and illumination intensities were employed to explore the effects of light source on photoautotrophic cultivation of Spirulina platensis. From the experimental results, red LED exhibited the highest specific growth rate of 0.40 (day−1) under the condition of 3000 μmol m−2 s−1. Blue LED showed the least efficiency in the conversion of photon to biomass. Hence, a modified Monod model was proposed to fit the specific growth rates of S. platensis from different light sources. The light intensity threshold for minimum photoautotrophic growth was also determined. In comparing the economic efficiency of energy to biomass, the use of red LED gave the most effective performance for the photoautotrophic cultivation.
I've only been able to read the above, don't have access to an online library like JSTOR or Sciencedirect - who want $39.95 from me, just to be able to read the full text. I could buy the article, but it's on a list of about 10 others that I would like to access and read. That money could be better spent on obtaining and growing Spirulina, and learning for myself.

Anyway back to the paper and what little is given away in the abstract. It seams to confirm what I read in another paper (I'm unable to find it now), it stated that blue light resulted in an increase in cell division (more Spirulina) while red would result in bigger Spirulina. So you would use blue light (blue LED's) to increase the numbers of Spirulina and red light (red LED's) to grow the Spirulina.

On a different note, I've done the figures on making the Zarrouk medium (you can see the formula here: http://www.zju.edu.cn/jzus/2006/B0601/B060106.pdf). I tried to do the figures based on getting 1kg amounts of each chemical component (just to make it simple). To keep the ratio, you'd need to buy a 25kg bag of Sodium Bicarbonate (cheapest way of getting 18kg of the stuff, only costs 27 on ebay with delivery). The total cost would be about 240 (about $380.711 [1 GBP = 1.58629 USD] at the time of this post), this is a upper end ballpark figure, as not a lot of "trace elements" chemicals would be required.

In fact more than half the 240: 130 is just for the "trace elements" chemicals. Half that figure is just for one ingredient (which also happened to be the hardest to find): (NH4)6Mo7O24- Ammonium molybdate. I found it on a lab supply website, costs 67.47 for just 250g of the stuff (the smallest amount they sell). The kicker is that you would only need 0.02g of the stuff.

I’ve been thinking about just substituting the "trace elements" with something else (diluted sea minerals) so as to save on the cost. Even at 240 it would still be 8.89 per kg of made medium. From what I’ve read, the medium is added at roughly 1g of medium per 1g of Spirulina produced.

If I were to get 20 lbs of sea minerals (to make an the alternitive "trace elements" solution), it would cost about 56. I would then have a cost of 6.15 per kg of Zarrouk medium.

Anyone know if you can buy Spirulina in the shops at less than 10 ($15.86) a kg.
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  #23  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:47 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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The paper that I linked to above in the previous post compares the use of the Zarrouk medium (as the control) against that of human urine, as well as synthetic human urine. The aim is to see if Spirulina could be grown using human urine on long term space missions. As a means of food production, oxygen production and filtering of waste.

If anyone is looking for a very cheap way of growing Spirulina - that's the paper to read.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:58 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Below is the formula, as well as the costs for the cheap medium that I referenced in post 17:
RM6 medium (on page 11 of the last referenced document, in my first post):
1.25 g/litre - single super phosphate: 2.5kg 8.20 (1kg = 3.28)
2.50 g/litre - sodium nitrate: 1kg 11.49
0.98 g/litre - muriate of potash: 2.5kg 8.45 (1kg = 3.38)
0.50 g/litre - sodium chloride: 1kg 13.59
0.15 g/litre - magnesium sulfate: 3kg 6.12 (1kg = 2.04)
0.04 g/litre - calcium chloride: 1kg 8.83
8 g/litre - sodium bicarbonate: 1kg 5.50
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Old 02-05-2011, 03:01 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Just got a reply from Antenna Technologies Foundation. Their email states that they don't supply Spirulina.

Its funny as in their documentation section in Cultivez votre spiruline, it states in section 5.1 that one can obtain 100% pure culture from 2 places, one of them being Antenna.

I'll be replying to their email asking them if they mean Spirulina end product or Spirulina cultures - which is what I asked about.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:37 PM
Alex_from_russia Alex_from_russia is offline
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Hi Savvy!

I wish to develop the cheap house-biogenerator for Spirulina. I am very surprised that on the Internet so a lot of information about Spirulina, but so a little real business.
I study a question of illumination with LED. At present I work with orchids and seaweed in an aquarium. I use in work light XREWHT-L1--0000-005e7, LZ4-00R210, XPCROY-L1--0000-00801.

I have some ideas on own device of the compact biogenerator with as much as possible low power consumption and the automatic control of processes c MC. (including some automatic chemical tests can be)
There is one more problem about which you speak earlier, it is purchase (or manufacturing) mixes Zarrouk and purchase of alive culture.

The some stamms can be found in Russia (even free of charge Спирулина. *азработки отдела биотехнологий и фиторесурсов, but with chemical fertilizers we have greater problems.. This question for me the most cdifficult....
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:47 PM
Alex_from_russia Alex_from_russia is offline
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upss!
there is so a lot of mistakes. Sorry.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:53 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Alex,

I think I understood what your saying - lots of info on the net, very very few business selling the stuff.

On the LED's - I'm leaning towards just using red and blue LED's to supplement natural day light. The reason being is that even on cloudy days here in London, my south facing windows still get a lot of light. And this year so far there have been a lot of cloudless days, well almost - it starts off without clouds, then the white plains come out and spry the sky resulting in the afternoon and evening ends with clouds.

I've noticed that the patterns of the chem trails have changed. It's almost like their playing noughts and crosses (tic tac toe) in the sky. A couple of weeks ago it looked like they were marking targets (X marks the spot kind of thing) for satellites or something space based..

Anyway back to your last bit.

It seams that we have mutually solvable problems - I can easily get and make medium but not the culture. While you can get the culture but have problems getting and making medium.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:50 AM
Alex_from_russia Alex_from_russia is offline
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I look at this theme from the point of view of " independent and continuous system ".
This approach demands the deep analysis of processes. It will spend a lot of time.

Except for making solutions I should solve many questions for myself.

1 - windows are everywhere different. Except for this there are places where windows are not present in general.

2 - " my windows still get a lot of light " is it how many? At my east window there is a maximum 2000Lx for 2 hours per day and 200Lx inside of a room. It is very insufficiently for my desire. Photosynthesis to be braked completely in this case.

My orchid blooms inside of a dark corner of room with a daylight 30Lx + 15W red and 5W dark blue LED for 12 hours per day. It is an equivalent to day time illumination HD-lamp 150W. But LED is colder and convenient, whether not so?

3. Quality and quantity of a product algaes depends from Ph, concentration of fertilizer, CO2, parities of Dark blue and Red light.
Or you really wish to eat sick and poisonous algaes?


4. Illumination from the external side of the biogenerator is not economically. A lot of light is sprayed in space around. LED allows to utilize all light and warmly. For example, if to place LEDs in tubes inside of the biogenerator.
It is greater grief that qualitative LEDs is very expensive... But I wish to trust - The game is worth the candles! (or is not and I am crasy )
In any case, waste of money for a hobby it is not insulting.

If to speak about " easily get and make medium but not the cultur " and opposite, that is problems: the frontier between the Europe and russian " a black hole " is the big obstacle. Fertilizers and a biological material will be blocked.

Nevertheless, I shall study this question since without fertilizers my ideas will be destroyed...

This theme is very interesting to me. I shall continue it to dig.

ps/ do you really could collect elements for preparation of medium Zarrouk? That you think about be a smuggler
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:01 PM
Savvypro Savvypro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_from_russia View Post
I look at this theme from the point of view of " independent and continuous system ".
This approach demands the deep analysis of processes. It will spend a lot of time.

Except for making solutions I should solve many questions for myself.

1 - windows are everywhere different. Except for this there are places where windows are not present in general.

2 - " my windows still get a lot of light " is it how many? At my east window there is a maximum 2000Lx for 2 hours per day and 200Lx inside of a room. It is very insufficiently for my desire. Photosynthesis to be braked completely in this case.

My orchid blooms inside of a dark corner of room with a daylight 30Lx + 15W red and 5W dark blue LED for 12 hours per day. It is an equivalent to day time illumination HD-lamp 150W. But LED is colder and convenient, whether not so?

3. Quality and quantity of a product algaes depends from Ph, concentration of fertilizer, CO2, parities of Dark blue and Red light.
Or you really wish to eat sick and poisonous algaes?


4. Illumination from the external side of the biogenerator is not economically. A lot of light is sprayed in space around. LED allows to utilize all light and warmly. For example, if to place LEDs in tubes inside of the biogenerator.
It is greater grief that qualitative LEDs is very expensive... But I wish to trust - The game is worth the candles! (or is not and I am crasy )
In any case, waste of money for a hobby it is not insulting.

If to speak about " easily get and make medium but not the cultur " and opposite, that is problems: the frontier between the Europe and russian " a black hole " is the big obstacle. Fertilizers and a biological material will be blocked.

Nevertheless, I shall study this question since without fertilizers my ideas will be destroyed...

This theme is very interesting to me. I shall continue it to dig.

ps/ do you really could collect elements for preparation of medium Zarrouk? That you think about be a smuggler
On the light issue, I was commenting on my situation. In yours I would agree that you would need to use artificial light - but remember that when it comes to Spirulina: light is the limiting factor. More light, does not mean more growth.

Even though you may get limited sunlight, it’s still free - so why not use it.

On point 3, you state the following:
Quote:
3. Quality and quantity of a product algaes depends from Ph, concentration of fertilizer, CO2, parities of Dark blue and Red light.

Or you really wish to eat sick and poisonous algaes?
You can grow Spirulina in low PH, the reason for the high PH: is that it results in an environment that only Spirulina can grow in - making it much safer if you will.

Not everyone adds CO2, as the Spirulina can get it’s carbon from sodium bicarbonate, which is why the mediums I’ve listed above have sodium bicarbonate concentrations much higher than the other parts of the medium.

For Dark blue and red light - more light frequencies is always going to be better. But when your in a limited situation - you use what you have.

On the medium - I said nothing about smuggling, nor would one have to.
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