Technology

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

The heart of our locations are the spirulina ponds, in which Spirulina grows. Since the beginning of our work, we have constantly improved our construction and adapted to the respective onsite conditions. Besides our breeding ponds, our locations have drying chambers, too. As soon as Sprirulina is ready for harvest, it is sieved through specialcloths and gently dried, before it gets further processed to powder.

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The spirulina ponds

Spirulina is cultured in salt water in ponds, which are 15 m x 4 m in size and have a depth of 40 cm. They are built of waterproof concrete. Up from the beginning, it was important for us to obtain all our buliding material from local sources.

Two other things, besides a high pH, are necessary for an optimal growth: first of all, a sufficiently high oxygen concentration and enough sunlight. This could be achieved by a good circulation, which is why we have constantly adapted and, over the years, continously developed our pond constructions further. Remarkable here is the additional concrete wall, which divides the ponds in their middle. At the inside, the ponds are rounded up and there’s a slope instead of hard edges between bottom and sidewalls. Like that, a cycle is created insidethe construction, which is driven by a specially designed water wheel (paddle wheel) with a solar engine. The important thing here is that the wheel turns slowly, in order to avoid the destruction of spirulina, while it allows its continous circulation.

We made adjustments for the different conditions at the various locations. In Turkana, for instance, fine-meshed nets protect our spirulina against sand, which would otherwise be blown into the ponds by the wind and in Ebukanga, a light permeable roof protects Spirulina from rain water, which would change the adjusted salt concentrations.

Here we have documented the construction of our second location in Ebukanga.

Cultivation

Within just a few days our superfood can be harvested. Ready for harvest is spirulina when the culture has multiplied to such an extent that the individual spirulina cells interlock due to their spiral shape. They can be fished out of the water with sievers or nets and are somewhat reminiscent of the appearance of spinach. We use the following for the harvesting process thinmeshed plastic netswhich are clamped in a wooden frame.  

After the harvesting process, the wooden frames could be placed into our drying chambers. The drying chamber is a simple wooden construction,  which is heated by the sun. The spirulina can dry gently and naturally here without direct sunlight. In this way, the spirulina not only has a much longer shelf life, but also retains all its important nutrients.  

In a further process, the superfood is processed to powder, with the advantage that spirulina powder could easily be added to local meals.  

Another great advantage of spirulina in the fight against  malnutrition is growth through cell division. It is practically impossiblethe entire spirulina culture  from the tanks. The remaining cells divide again with exponential growth,  so that  already can be harvested again within a few days,  without having to “reseed”. 

Spirulina Becken Ernte Jens Partner Nariokotome
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Quality

Quality is important for us! That’s why we verify the purity of our spirulina more than once. Our farm manager examines the superfood regularly under the microscope. Like that, possible contaminations can be detected and directly fixed at early stages. Moreover, we are in the process of registrating our spirulina at the local authorities as an official food. Therefore, it has to pass strict tests. Furthermore, we work on an innovative sensor system for the surveillance and control of our superfood.