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Scaling up: new facility a boost for algae-based bioeconomy

7 April 2017

Technical officer Lochlan de Beyer and Professor Peter Ralph

Technical officer Lochlan de Beyer and Professor Peter Ralph with the photobioreactor. Photo: Marea Martlew.

The long-held vision of Climate Change Cluster (C3) Director Professor Peter Ralph to address energy and food security through algae-based industries is one step closer with the installation of a new rooftop facility atop the UTS Science Vicki Sara Building. The facility, a 600-litre Varicon PhycoFlow™ algal photobioreactor (PBR), is a first for Australia and is set to revolutionise the NSW bioeconomy.

“This is the missing link that will connect industry to the innovation taking place at institutions such as UTS, allowing us to move from the lab bench to a small industrial scale,” Professor Ralph said.

“It means UTS will be a demonstration site for a broad range of industries. With the installation of this state-of-the-art tubular photobioreactor system, C3 is leading the way for micro-algae production linked to a diverse range of industrial applications, from functional food, dyes and feeds to bioplastics.”

Photobioreactors produce monocultures of marine and freshwater algae in a closed system that automatically controls environmental parameters such as temperature, nutrients, carbon dioxide and pH.

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