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, TASS reported, citing Prof. Natalia Politaeva of the St. Pete universityĺs Higher School of Biotechnology and Food Tech.
ôThis 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.,ö Ms. Politaeva 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.