Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economies

Project lead: Xanthella Ltd

Project partners: AliEnergy, fai, VCharge, Sgurr Energy, Ardtoe Estate, 

Area: Argyll and Bute

Main technology: Use of curtailed wind energy to grow algae

Grant award: £487,000

The Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economies (ASLEE) project is an innovative collaboration between a number of research organisations, private sector small enterprises and others. The project aims to put a value on curtailed energy from community wind turbines in rural areas by using the intermittent electricity to turn on lights in photobioreactor tubes, which will grow algae. The algae can then be converted to high-value products, for example salmon feed. 

In this way, the peaks of curtailed energy that usually have little or no use become valuable - a great example of creating something from what is usually seen as waste energy.

What makes this project innovative?

There are a number of projects looking into uses for curtailed energy (i.e. storage, electric vehicle charging etc)., but this project is unique by truly thinking outside the box. Algae is very resistant to intermittent light sources and can grow with an irregular light supply. This project is therefore exploring exactly how resistant the algae is, and whether the likely output pattern from a curtailed turbine can be used to effectively grow algae in commercial quantities.

If the model proves to be commercially viable, this will offer a way for rural communities to increase the income of local turbines where export to the grid is not possible.


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