Deep down in the sea on the west coast of Sweden, the diatom algae grow. Due to the harsh conditions, the algae developed unique qualities. The Swedish Algae Factory is the company that through research has managed to make use of these qualities and develop products that reduce the usage of chemicals, emit less CO2 and at the same time clean the oceans.
The company was founded in Gothenburg in 2016 by Sofie Allert and Angela Wulff, professor in Marine ecology, after years of research. Since then, the Swedish Algae factory has come a long way and at the end of 2017 the company scaled up its production from a smaller prototype to a pilot facility of 260 square meters. The goal is to have 100 facilities based on the Swedish Algae Factory technology in production by 2030.
How it works
Together with other algae within the encelliga eukaryote family, the diatom algae stand for about 45 % of the photosynthesis in our oceans and about 20 % of the coal fixation, which is more than all rainforest combined.
The algae diatom grows naturally close to the company’s pilot facility on the Swedish west coast. By cultivating the shells of these algae, the Swedish Alage Factory takes advantage of the unique functions of the algae. The material has unique light altering, absorptive and binding properties that are unmatched by synthetic materials that can be used in a variety of industrial products.
A wide range of usages
The Swedish Algae Factory supplies products that are widely different but use the same technology. One of the main focuses is on solar panels. According to the company, using their material could increase the effect of silicon-based solar panel with 4 % and Grätzel solar cells by up to 60 %. Besides that, the material is durable and can last for hundreds of years. In addition, the material’s production process is climate-positive; it traps at least 8 times its weight in CO2, 1 time in nitrogen and 0,1 time in phosphorous.
The material is produced in a process where the algae can also be used to clean nutritious water and is now used on the fish farm not far from the company’s production facility. CO2 is absorbed naturally in the production process. The organic biomass inside of the shells of the algae is not wasted – it can be used as fish fodder, fuel or fertilizer.
Another possible use for the algae is as a natural UV filter in sunscreens, colours and plastics, according to a report published in March this year.
Get in touch with the Swedish Algae Factory here.