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LighTimes: OLEDs Help Cultivate Microalga

01 Nov 2013

October 31, 2013…Some research scientists reasoned, why not use the climate killer carbon dioxide in order to produce quality products? The process required for this is among the most effective in the history of our planet : photosynthesis. Scientists at the Technical University of Dresden and the Fraunhofer COMEDD have developed the cultivation of microalgae using organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) in the Saxon Ministry of Science and Art ( BSEC ) funded , globally unique pilot project bioreactors.

Dr. Karsten Fehse , project leader at Fraunhofer COMEDD noted, ” With the help of OLEDBeleuchtung , salts and water carbon dioxide is bound by microalgae and converted into a variety of high quality products including proteins , dyes, or cosmetic or pharmaceutical agents. “

The scientists of the Institute of Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering at the Technical University of Dresden and the Fraunhofer COMEDD are working to make this versatile process effectively by the microalgae and the light energy from OLEDs. This area light sources can be produced in almost any shape and are characterized by their flat design of ( less than 200 nm thick). The scientists point out that the OLEDs can be integrated into a variety of substrates such as glass, metal or foil. Therefore open the Bioverfahrenstechnikern the TU Dresden the opportunity can overcome the geometrical limits with new reactor models.

The algae is a photophobic organism meaning its optimal growth takes place away from light. In the current project , a reactor system is developed that combines technology OLED and Biotechnology by phototrophic micro -organisms and thus lays the foundation for new innovative algae reactors. Because these are not large stainless steel bowl , but miniaturized plastic photobioreactors in the cigarette format. The little round tubes use optical metrology to provide information about technical process parameters including the physiological state of the algae cells and the formation of the target products. Using the extensive process information , this new technology helps biotechnological processes using phototrophic organisms to quickly optimize resources.

Felix Krujatz , scientists at the Institute of Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering at the Technical University of Dresden , summarizes: “We hope that through this next generation of reactor technology, a deeper understanding and new insights into the behavior of micro-algae in biotechnological production processes . “

The joint project is funded by the Saxon Ministry of Science and Art, grant number 4-7531.60/29/16 with 670,000 euros and runs twenty months