Finally, the time has come! After years of development, numerous prototypes and on-site simulations, our sensor was ready for its real job at the turn of the year: supporting the cultivation of spirulina and other microalgae at our facilities. For his first field trip, however, he did not go to Kenya, where our three previous spirulina farms are located, but to Morocco in the Western Sahara!
There, our two new partners Viride and ProTerra have together built a facility where they intend to combine microalgae and fish farming ecologically and efficiently. Viride, a start-up based in the Frankfurt area, grows microalgae to sequesterCO2 and provide alternative sources of nutrients. Currently, they are focusing on the production of Dunaliella and Nannochloropsis. Dunaliella provides large amounts of beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Nannochloropsis, on the other hand, has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These unsaturated fatty acids play an important role in our metabolism. ProTerra breed cichlids in addition to the microalgae Chlorella and Spirulina. The fish need oxygen to breathe, carbon dioxide remains, which is bound by the algae and converted into O2. The combination of fish and algae creates a natural cycle, making optimal use of on-site resources. A concept that immediately excited us! Thus, we gladly accepted their invitation to visit their site in the Western Sahara in the south of Morocco and to test our sensor technology there!
Together with David, Co-Founder of Viride, and our two developers Stefan and Flonnie, our sensor left for Western Sahara on January 7. Viride and ProTerra are located there on the Atlantic coast near Dakhla. There, the sensor was to spend the next few days floating in a Dunaliella tank and undergo various tests. The parameters that our sensor is designed to measure include the pH, temperature and salinity of the water in the tank, as well as the prevailing algae concentration. Since it is to be permanently installed floating in the algae pool, the self-sufficient energy supply as well as the reliable data storage and transmission to our data servers also had to be tested.
Most important point first: The sensor floats, is tight and the electronics work perfectly even after several days! In addition, solar radiation is sufficient to supply it with enough energy and data transmission works. Our sensor has now collected many measured values over several days, which look very promising and are currently being analyzed in more detail here in Regensburg. While our two developers have already arrived back in cold Germany, our sensor is still swimming in its algae pool near Dakhla, enjoying the sun and continuing to measure…
If you want to read even more about our two partners, check out their websites: