Melvin calvin was awarded the nobel prize in 1961 for his research into photosynthesis. Calvin researched the complicated chemical reaction process on microalgae of the genus chlorella. And this is the alga that is supposed to grow in the weisachgrund.
Don’t worry, the bottom of the weisach will not be covered with a green layer or meter-long green threads will run through the water.
Photosynthesis is the method by which plants obtain their life energy with the help of the green color corpuscles in the cell, chlorophyll. For them, the raw material is carbon dioxide and the waste is oxygen. Chlorella is one of the tiny microscopic organisms in the algae family. And it is cultivated in a closed cycle.
Rough foundation sought
the story of the breeding plant near kleinweisach began through a business contact of gerhard eybelein, who is active in the alternative energy sector. He learned that the company weber gmbh from aschaffenburg is looking for a rough plot of land near a biomass plant. Eybelein has a plot of land next to kleinweisach.
The proximity is important because the fermentation of biomass by bacteria produces methane gas and carbon dioxide. Especially when the purified methane is to be fed into the gas pipeline network, the carbon dioxide remains.
For microalgae, carbon dioxide is certainly the bread and butter of the day. Like plants, they gain their energy from it and grow and multiply. If they have enough light, warmth and water. The warmth, especially for the final drying of the algae mass, should also come from the biogas plant in the kleinweisach project. Water is not needed much, only the basin filling at the beginning. Because after centrifugation, the "blank" is left to flow water back into the basins.
Approach from the 90s
this way of life of the algae gave karl-hermann steinberg the idea of using the algae to clean industrial waste gases of carbon dioxide as early as the 1990s. From this approach, he developed a technique to grow chlorella algae using giant glass tubes. This plant has been in operation in the altmark region since 1999.
The plant builder weber has a different technical approach, which should get by with less light. LED panels illuminate the aquarium-like containers. "The company guarantees that 100 kilograms of algae can be produced daily in 100 cubic meters of water", says eybelein. The landowner is convinced by the project.
Cosmetics from algae
financially, he says, he could not handle the multi-million investment alone. That is why investors are currently being sought. Many people were interested in microalgae cultivation, because the dried algae are processed into cosmetics and food supplements.
"Basically, the algae contain all the substances that humans need to live", eybelein sums it up briefly. Bernd ihlow, the technician from aschaffenburg, describes the end product of the cultivation plant as follows: "after centrifuging, it looks like green nutella." Only: it makes potential investors hesitate, because a completely new technology is to be used. So eybelein had to postpone the planned start of construction until last fall. Now he hopes the decisions will be made soon.
One step toward realization has already been taken: the district office will remove eybelein’s land from the steigerwald landscape conservation area if the construction project goes through its municipal administrative process.
Hans leuchs, head of the environmental department at the district office, has no objections to this type of production. "The positive cycle is climate-proof", he says. And: "the aquaculture of algae has nothing to do with genetic engineering", leuchs emphasizes.