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Blue Green Algae Harvester
Background and goal of the Blue Green Algae Harvester Open Innovation Call
The company Origin by Ocean is in the marine biomass refinement business. The foundation of Origin by Ocean resides in the idea of creating value from an environmental problem which originates in the eutrophication of our waters.
Our company vision is to provide cleaner waters, cleaner seas and cleaner life. This vision gives us clear guidance to what we want to achieve and how we will act in the process of getting to this point. The first environmental problem we want to help solve is the eutrophication of our waters.
Our way of resolving this environmental problem is based upon a completely new value stream, enabled by the sustainable use of marine biomass as raw-material in our neo-ecology biorefinery plant.
Problem to be solved
The root cause to the eutrophication in our waters is more or less the same regardless of what water system we are looking at. Nutrients such as Phosphorus and Nitrogen are transported to the water systems with rain and floods. Often these excess nutrients come from our agricultural activities and the use of artificial fertilizers. This results in a continuous spiral of an ever increasing amount of nutrients in our waters and the result is extensive Blue Green algae blooms.
Currently we have extensive algae blooms’ in the Baltic Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans every season. Specifically looking at the Baltic sea, we notice that the native Bladderwrack seaweed amount is decreasing due to turbid waters and increasing amounts of Blue Green algae. This again results in a situation where the Bladderwrack amount yet again is depleted and the Blue Green algae amount increases, year by year. This spiral will continue beyond the tipping point of no return, unless we are able to start collecting some of the surplus nutrients in the water systems.
FACTS about the Baltic Sea and the Blue Green Algae blooms
Established research shows that:
- The estimated amount of Blue Green algae blooms in the Baltic Sea is ~400.000metric tons per annum
- In average the Blue Green algae bloom season is 84 days per season
- Typically the peak of the bloom happens in the middle of July in the coastal waters of Finland
- The Baltic Sea water type is brackish water
- The Finnish archipelago is broken into a huge amount of smaller islands, straits, bays and shallow waters
Elements we are looking for
Systems/Solutions/Methods that should be:
- Modular, so that multiples of the same system can operate as a larger entity
- Energy efficient
- Having a low CO2 footprint
- Are able to operate in narrow straits and shallow waters or in open seas (Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, or Gulf of Mexico)
- Transportable on a sea freight ship cargo deck, using standardized shipping container fixation points
- Physical size of any vessel or structure based approach should not exceed the standard shipping container dimensions.
Systems/Solutions/Methods that can also be:
- Independent or towed/pushed by a vessel
- Using some type of biological flocculant type of liquid to improve the harvesting efficiency
- Remotely operated and controlled
- Unmanned and independent operation
- Allows for swarm type of harvesting methods
- Utilizing existing infrastructure and systems such as oil spill control systems and booms
- Allowing for easy storage of the harvested Blue green algae biomass
Blue Green Harvester System Performance Targets
For the purpose of this innovation challenge we have set a number of performance requirements and targets. All proposed systems, solutions or building blocks of any algae collection system must be environmental friendly. Any methods or solutions based upon any non-environmental approach will dissgarded.
Our annual collection target is 100.000 metric tons, this is roughly on average ~1200tons/day, 50tons/h for 24/day for 84days.
Envisioned Logistics Framework for the Harvested Blue Green Algae
In order to allow for an efficient harvesting process we foresee that the Blue green algae harvesters will perform the most relevant duty, harvesting Blue green algaes 24/7. This will mean that the harvested Blue green algae biomass will be transferred from the harvester’s harvest container to a midterm storage barge/platform or ship. The midterm storage barge/platform or ship’s storage containers will then be transferred to a larger transport ship for taking the harvested Blue green algae to the biorefinery’s Biomass storage facilities.