The Potential of Algae
I-Phyc’s goal is to clean up the wastewater streams of the world, using the natural power of microalgae.
Approximately 50% of the oxygen in every breath you take was created by algae – they are a HUGE store to lock away carbon and a producer of oxygen.
We utilise a wide number of species of common, naturally occurring microalgae, that are found in most watercourses. The I-Phyc process industrialises the use of these same microalgae, developing polycultures and by maintaining this diverse range of organisms working together, the treatment system has a built-in level of robustness and resilience.
A diverse range of microalgae gives greater flexibility to the technology and its ability to quickly remove multiple nutrients and contaminants in a single process.
Algae are a diverse group of microorganisms that are capable of surviving even the harshest of habitats. They thrive in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, while producing oxygen, nutrients, and other materials through photosynthesis. Algae’s adaptability allows us to use them to treat and recover value from a wide variety of wastewaters.
Algae not only produce their own food, but also provide sustenance and energy for other ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Nutrients and minerals absorbed by algae give them the power and energy to grow and reproduce. By working with the algae in wastewater, we’re allowing them to flourish, while producing valuable biomass and cleaned effluents. Not only do algae consume nutrients, but they can also protect the environment from tough contaminants such as heavy metals, chemicals and pharmaceutical substances. Some of these contaminants can be captured by algae, which can later be valorised by wastewater operators.
The biomass produced by algae is bursting with energy and compounds that can be commercially exploited in various ways. With our help, wastewater operators can learn how to harvest and transform algae into diverse products for the growing bio-based industry. These range from mass-produced agricultural goods, such as fertiliser, poultry feed and sustainable feed stock, to biogas, recovered metals and specialist oils and lubricants.
The Right Biology
Algae are microscopic plants able to take up nutrients and minerals from a variety of sources. By using the power of the sun, algae are able to build nutrients into ever more complex compounds allowing them to grow and divide. Algae are a highly diverse range or organisms and have adapted to a variety of conditions. This makes algae an ideal biological component of the wastewater treatment process. As an added benefit, the biomass produced can be used for a variety of beneficial purposes.
A Natural Solution
Algae and the often-confused cyanobacteria are diverse groups of microorganisms capable of photosynthesis and living in a huge variety of conditions. Being photosynthetic gives them the useful ability to use the energy in sunlight to take up simple nutrients and minerals from their environment along with carbon dioxide, combining them into more complex matter allowing them to grow and reproduce. This ability also makes them of vital importance to a range of environmental and global systems, from supporting the growth of coral reefs to helping to control the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The Inherent Value of Algae
A major benefit of commercially growing algae is the possibility of making use of the biomass produced. Algal biomass is full of stored energy and useful compounds allowing the biomass to be processed and used for a range of purposes. These include niche markets e.g. specialist lubricants as well as large scale bulk uses such as fertiliser.