la Wietecha writes for undercurrentnews.com that Nova Scotia-based SabrTech is planning soon to launch its easy-to-transport algae-growing system called RiverBox, a product the company believes will revolutionize algae production.
SabrTech spent about two years developing its RiverBox system — which uses a standard shipping container with up to 10 tiers where algae grow. Although the RiverBox could theoretically be used for various industries, including fuel, nutraceutical, chemical and personal care, Mather Carscallen, the company’s founder, president and CEO, said, “The aquaculture piece is really our focus now. The aquaculture industry is becoming more and more important to everyone around the world.”
When the company first started, it was largely focused on creating huge algae plantations, but then shifted its focus to a system that could efficiently grow algae in a small area.
The RiverBox, according to the company’s website, is “deployable for on-site algae production anywhere in the world as a modular unit in a greenhouse, outdoors exposed to the sun or in a brick-and-mortar facility.”
Dr. Carscallen said most of the interest for algae currently is for waste-remediation, although in the future the algae could be processed into feed. “As more algae companies become successful and the industry as a whole becomes more established, we will see a large focus on utilizing algae as a feed and protein source. The industry needs to start producing on a very large volume before large feed companies can incorporate it into their products.”
A lack of willing investors has been one of the main impediments to the development of a more robust algae industry, which currently puts most of its effort in developing algae for high-value products like pharmaceuticals, according to Dr. Carscallen. “The majority of algae companies being funded are those that already have significant funding.”