Flemish algae farm used in European research

In September 2014, VITO and university college Thomas More Geel officially inaugurated the pilot installation SUNBUILT, a unique algae farm in Flanders. The algae constitute a rich biomass for sustainable raw materials. The installation will now be used in several European projects, one of which is MIRACLES.

The algae in the SUNBUILT-laboratory are an ideal natural resource. Under the influence of sunlight, they convert water, (cattle) feed and carbon dioxide into valuable biomass. Through extraction, plenty of useful materials can be gained from the algae, such as food additives, cosmetic substances or chemicals. Attached to the SUNBUILT farming installation is a module that harvests the algae. In addition, the module filters the water used to grow the algae, allowing it to be reused.
In 2014, VITO and Thomas More helped establish the MIRACLES project, in which an international consortium exchanges expertise on algae production. In practice, partners develop new harvest and water recycling techniques, cheaper photobioreactors, an optimised growth process for the algae, ways to process the algae and new applications for the algae.

VITO’s role in these projects

Together with Thomas More, VITO plays a pioneering role in scientific research on algae farming. VITO focuses on the harvest and processing of the algae, and reaches out to interested companies.

MIRACLES: facts & figures
  • Partner project with 26 partners in six European member states, Norway, and Chile.
  • Launch in November 2013
  • Total budget consortium: €11,900,000

For more information and updates, visit: www.sunbuilt.be

The algae in the SUNBUILT-laboratory are an ideal natural resource.