Partners from across Europe travelled to Gatwick in December to discuss progress on the ALG-AD project, and in particular, the work that is now underway to construct and commission the three pilot reactors.
The ALG-AD project aims to use waste for sustainable growth by developing new technology to take excess waste nutrients produced from anaerobic digestion of food and farm waste to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed and other products of value.
Langage AD in Devon, UK, Innolab in Oostkamp, Belgium and Cooperl in Brittany, France are the locations for the project’s three pilots where the algal biomass will be grown.
This meeting was an opportunity for colleagues to learn more about the progress being made on the pilots’ construction and to share the lessons which have arisen to date.
The pilot in Devon is almost complete – the first inoculation is expected to get underway on site in January. The pilot in Brittany should be operational around the same time and the final pilot in Ghent is expected to come online in the Spring.
“There was a great deal of experience exchanged during this meeting which has proved useful to each of the partners,” said Dr Carole Llewellyn. “And this is exactly what projects like this one aim to provide – an opportunity to learn across borders and boundaries and share that learning.
“During our two day meeting, partners were able to get an update on project progress. We’re now at the stage where all three pilots are almost completed and operational. This is when the real work begins, when we can start our experiments at scale.”
For the partners, meetings such as this are important opportunities for discussion and collaboration to take place.
"It's important to compare our technology with other technologies, to understand what the issues are in each country, because each one has a different issue, different way of thinking and working, which is very important for me,” said Luc Chauchat from CNRS.
As part of the partner meeting, colleagues were offered the opportunity to visit the Langage AD facility, to see the construction progress on the bioreactor and have a tour of the AD facility.
"The nice thing about bringing lots of minds and people from lots of areas around is allowing them to cross over and see where things originate from,” said Gary Jones, co-owner of the Langage AD facility. “So it’s gaining an overall knowledge which will hopefully allow them in their own profession to tailor it a lot better and have a better understanding of the people they're working with and understanding their problems and issues."