Friday, 14 July 2017

Advantage Environment: Simris alg is a bubbling company

Advantage Environment    

Simris alg is a bubbling company

Posted: 11 Jul 2017 05:15 AM PDT
During the summer of 2017 articles from our growing archive will be republished. This one was first published in January 2013. Fredrika Gullfot and her colleagues grow algae. Two thousand square meters of abandoned greenhouses in Hammenhög in southern Sweden have been transformed from cultivating flowers and other plants to the production of single-celled algae. “We grow algae in a large number of five centimetre-wide glass tubes. The algae need light, carbon dioxide, some nutrients, and of course water, “says Fredrika Gullfot, who is CEO of the company.

Under Swedish conditions the algae is grown in a large number of five cm-wide glass tubes, and yields 22 times more oil per hectare of land compared to the cultivation of rapeseed.

“By growing in glass tubes, we optimize the availability of light. Bubbling occurs as we lead air into the pipes. Our algae farm is the first of its kind in Sweden, but abroad algae oil is a growing trend,” adds Gullfot. “Under Swedish conditions, growing algae yields 22 times more oil per hectare compared to the cultivation of rapeseed.”
Oil from algae

Plankton is a single-celled plant that lives in fresh and salt water all over the earth. Simris Alg starts from their own or purchased stock cultures and in vessels proliferate algae by cell division. It is quite slow in the beginning but after a few weeks, the algae culture grows up and is ready to be harvested. Algae mass is dried and ground, and through bio-refining, various chemical products are isolated like enzymes, fatty acids, pigments, antioxidants, proteins and amino acids. Algae oil can be used as feedstock for biofuels and the residual mass can be digested into biogas. When the algae are used for fuel production, the wastewater can provide nutrients for growth.

The global interest in what can be extracted from algae has increased. Among other things, the aerospace industry sees opportunities with algae to replace fossil fuels. A future scenario adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama aims to have 17 percent of the country’s fuel needs coming from cultivated algae. Swedish municipalities also see algae as a source of biogas. The food industry has its eyes on algae to produce dyes, fatty acids and antioxidants. Plankton can for example be used to extract the omega-3 fats used in food supplements.

“Algae oil can replace fish oil to limit overfishing,” says Gullfot. “A half a billion crowns of Omega 3 fish oil is sold in Sweden per year” Globally, 100,000 tons of fish oil is produced per year and demand is growing by 8 percent per year. “The food industry is also looking for environmentally friendly products that can substitute palm oil. The day the technology is mature enough to produce algae oil cheap in a really large scale will open up another huge market for Simris Alg and others.”
Energy-intensive process

Algae can be grown in a relatively small area and the raw materials are almost free. One problem to solve is energy. Running pumps, greenhouse lights and dryers consumes a lot of electricity. “We established ourselves in southeast Skåne to get access to as much sunlight as possible. We have also been involved in an international project called AlgaePARC. The project seeks to make large-scale algae cultivation more energy efficient and therefore economically viable for the production of biofuels,” says Gullfot.

“Profitability is already available for the production of food ingredients, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, but the production of biofuels at competitive prices is a challenge. The project, which is operated in the Netherlands is run together with the chemical company BASF, food company Unilever and energy company Exxon Mobil,” says Gullfot.
Acclaimed business idea

Simris Alg has received much attention in Sweden and internationally. The idea came from Fredrika Gullfot and Tony Fagerberg, students at KTH in Stockholm and Lund University, respectively. They had followed the international trend and were convinced that cultured microalgae could contribute to the development of renewable energy and the transition to sustainable food production. Their vision was to build a cutting-edge facility for the cultivation and production of microalgae, and to establish Simris Alg as a powerful drive motor in the development of microalgae technology in Sweden.

So far it has gone well and the basic idea has become a reality. The main focus of Simris Alg is to use algae to develop diet and feed supplements for both humans and animals. Even horses, dogs and cats need omega-3 fats. In time, the activities also will also cover the development and production of biofuels. The Explanatory Memorandum to Region Skåne’s 2012 Environmental Award, which was awarded to Simris Alg, noted that “Simris Alg works with a key technology to replace today’s fossil fuels and is a key player in environmental engineering in Sweden.”

Sweden also has the firm Asta Real specializing in algae cultivation. The company is owned by the Japanese company Fuji Chemical Industry and produces antioxidants used in foods, animal feed and cosmetics.

The article was published in March 2013

Inlägget Simris alg is a bubbling company dök först upp på Miljönytta.

Water efficient washing of heavy vehicles

Posted: 04 Jul 2017 07:25 AM PDT
During the summer of 2017 articles from our growing archive will be republished. This one was first published in January 2013. “Access to clean water has become an increasingly important issue in many countries,” says Robert Sundell, President of Westmatic. “We have by far the most environmentally friendly systems available in the market for washing buses, trucks and trains. We strive to recycle and purify water in our operations.”
[Westmatic 1]

The washing of trains has become an increasingly important component of Westmatic’s product portfolio.

“Ever since Jan Sundell started Westmatic more than 35 years ago, environmental issues have been a driving force in our company. We got a world patent on our Purifier in 1996 and the application is certified for oil filtration for ship installations. We strive to always have the latest technology.”
Water Recycling

To wash a train or a large truck is not the same as washing a car. Certainly, Westmatic’s washing facilities may remind one of a regular car wash, but under the surface the equipment is very different. In the Westmatic process, two stages are used to minimize water consumption and emissions of polluted waters.

To recycle, water, sand and other particles must be separated. This is done in stainless steel so-called hydro-cyclones that separate everything down to the 10-micron level. Then an ozone generator is used to prevent the emergence of microorganisms and odours.

Ozone is a strong oxidizing agent and breaks down odorous organic substances that kill bacteria and other microorganisms. After treatment, more than 85 percent of the water can be reused in the washing process. The system is fully automatic and the capacity can be sized from 165 to 1,200 litres of wash water per minute. It is only in the final rinse that fresh water is supplied.
Water Cleansing

The water that is not reused passes through an oil separator and is passed on to a purifier, which removes micro-oil emulsions and other contaminants formed when chemical cleaning fluids are used in the vehicle wash. The technique is based on a combination of electro and electrostatic precipitation, and is called electro-flocculation.

The contaminated water passes through a reactor containing an anode and a cathode plate that generates a DC current of between 130-150 Amperes. Salt is dispensed automatically into the water to create the conditions for electrolysis. The anode consists of an aluminium cylinder whose ions are released when they form flocculants with the impurities.

The electrolysis formation of small bubbles in the water contributes to making flocculants that float to the surface. The water is then transported to a tank where the flocculants are scraped off and transferred to a landfill. The cleaning of the anode and cathode are automatic by high pressure flushing and the equipment does not need to be shut down for manual cleaning. The treated water is discharged into drains and the purification rate is more than 99 percent, which meets the emission limits listed by the environmental authorities in different countries.

The purifier is patented and is useful in various industries where the cleaning of oily waters is needed. Today, there are approximately 350 cleaners installed around the world. The most part is the washing of vehicles but there are also facilities for painting, painting workshops, printing houses, ships and mechanical workshops.
Train washing gains in importance

Westmatic has over 3,000 installations of its products worldwide. The U.S. market is important, and the company established itself in Buffalo, NY in 2005 where there is now a production facility. In 2,000, the company developed its first plant for washing trains, which gradually became an increasingly important component of its product portfolio.

“We see that the market for such washing facilities is increasing and in 2012 we delivered the first two installations to the Russian State Railways. Two more plants are on their way to Russia,” says Sundell. “One of our strengths is that we have our own production units producing complete systems tailored to customer needs and that we install them ourselves.”

The article was published in January 2013

Inlägget Water efficient washing of heavy vehicles dök först upp på Miljönytta.
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