Algae startup Bionavitas unveils Light Immersion Technology

February 24 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 2

BionavitasBioenergy startup Bionavitas [Video] has unveiled a new lighting system, designed for both open pond and closed bioreactors, that the company believes could make algae-based biofuels price competitive with petroleum products.

Why algae?
The premise of Algae bioenergy is elegant and transformational in our effort to close the carbon loop. To understand the future of algae, you have to understand the past.

Oil is just chemical energy stored in the form of hydrogen-carbon bonds that were assembled by ancient sea-living microbes.  So, oil is the result of ancient algae growth!

But instead of extracting reserves of oil, we can 'grow energy' using efficient biochemical pathways of algae (and bacteria) that eat carbon and, then using the power of light, bind it with hydrogen to produce bio-oil that can be used as a source of energy or as a feedstock for biomaterials. 

But in order to scale algae production, we need to solve a few problems including adequate lighting. 

Let there be Light
The Bionavitas Light Immersion Technology addresses one of the main barriers to scaling algae systems- giving the rapidly growing algae enough light to keep eating carbon and producing hydrocarbon chains.  As the algae grow, they block the light of the fellow neighbors.  Bionavitas hopes to bring 'photons to biomass' through an innovative lighting system.

Within open pond systems, the Light Immersion Technology enables 'the algae growth layer in open ponds to be up to a meter deep... representing a 10 to 12 time increase in yield over previous methods that produced only 3-5 centimeters of growth.'

For closed bioreactors 'the rods evenly distribute more readily absorbed red and blue spectrum light from high efficiency LEDs.'

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Bionavitas' Light Immersion Technology greatly enhances algae growth by evenly distributing light deep into the algae culture.(Photo:Business Wire)

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