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 beginning of the year: to support the cultivation of spirulina and other microalgae at our facilities. For its first field deployment, however, it didn’t visit Kenya, where our three previous spirulina farms are located, but Morocco in Western Sahara!
There, our two new partners Viride and ProTerra have teamed up to build a facility where they plan to combine microalgae and fish farming ecologically and efficiently. Viride, a start-up from the Frankfurt area, grows microalgae to sequester CO2 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 breeds cichlids in addition to the microalgae Chlorella and Spirulina. The fish need oxygen to breathe, what remains is carbon dioxide, which is bound by the algae and converted into O2. The combination of fish and algae creates a natural cycle, making optimal use of local 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 test our sensor technology there!
Together with David, co-founder of Viride, and our two developers Stefan and Florian, our sensor left for Western Sahara on January 7. Viride and ProTerra are located on the Atlantic coast near Dakhla. The sensor was to spend the next few days floating in a Dunaliela basin and undergo various tests there. The parameters to be measured by our sensor include the pH value, the temperature, and the salinity of the water in the basin, as well as the prevailing algae concentration. Since it is to be permanently installed floating in the algae pool, the self-sufficient energy supply and reliable data storage and transmission to our data servers also had to be tested.
The most important point first: The sensor floats, is leak-proof and the electronics work perfectly even after several days! In addition, the sunlight is sufficient to supply it with enough energy, and the data transmission works. Our sensor has collected many measured values over several days, which look 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 more about our two partners, please have a look at their websites: