18 Jan '18
Researchers at the St. Petersburg Peter the Great Polytechnic University have partnered with their colleagues from Hamburg, Germany, in a three-year effort aimed at processing algae into a novel material for water purification and biogas production.
“This is about cultivating algae we all know as Lemna, a genus of free-floating aquatic plants that can give us a lot of valuable components, including lipids, carotenoids, pigments, etc.,” Prof. Natalia Politaeva of the St. Pete university’s Higher School of Biotechnology and Food Tech was quoted as saying. In this $1.5m project, the Russian and German partners are expected to fund the research on a 50/50 basis.
Thus far, biomass that results from algae processing for the above valuable substances has been considered waste. Now the scientists want to use residual biomass to produce a sorption material to get rid of impurities in water reservoirs and drinking water; sanitizing waters after oil spills is another possible application. According to the St. Petersburg professor, biomass-to-cleanser conversion know-how comes from the Russian partner in the effort.
The team is said to already have industrial partners in Germany and Russia which expect the project to evolve into a lucrative business.