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EVERIS and BTME Build 2nd Largest Euro Algae Facility
September 18, 2012
he joint venture between EXELERIA (Group EVERIS) and BTME, has finished construction and is beginning the operation of the second largest microalgae production facility in Europe. The production and research center is located in the province of Cadiz, in southwestern Spain, a location seen by the companies as featuring ideal weather conditions year round in the area of the highest solar radiation in Europe.
The joint venture was launched to produce high quality, high purity microalgae for aquaculture and cosmetics, as well as develop a platform that will attain – at an industrial scale –human food, production of omega-3 fatty acids and other uses.
The new facility combines tubular photo bioreactor production with raceways, giving flexibility in the production of products aimed for various uses. The three photo bioreactors have a total capacity of 90,000 litres, including the largest existing unit in the world. The raceways are located under greenhouses, with a start-up area of 5,100 m2 (1,020 m3), and with plans for an extension to 20,000 m2 (4.000 m3) in less than 2 years.
The facilities include full auxiliary microbiology and chemistry laboratories, a treatment plant for water processing, two inoculum production areas, a bank of microalgae strains which have been selected and collected during years of research, and areas dedicated exclusively to R & D. The plant has two lines of “downstream” for the harvesting, storage and shipment of the products.
The installation has implemented significant improvements in the control and automation of the production process, allowing the plant to operate with a low personnel requirement.
Currently, the total production capacity of the plant is of 30 tons/year and, after the expansion plans planned for the next two years, the capacity is expected to exceed 100 tons/year.