The sun is 4.5 billion years old and based on its longevity and output is considered an infinite source of energy for all requirements on earth. It is currently delivering 6000 times more energy to earth than is consumed as primary energy demand.
About 1% of the solar flux or the incoming sun’s radiation is used in photosynthesis by plants. The amount of photosynthetic activity, absorbing CO2 in the process, can be increased beyond practical limitations and would never exhaust the sun power available. The natural processes of creating (chemical) energy through photosynthesis are by far more efficient than any other conversion of solar energy in terms of productivity and energy balance.
The ocean covers 70% of the earth’s surface but man has always focussed on land to live, build infrastructure and to produce food.
Overcrowding in certain areas and competing usage of limited suitable arable land leads to increases in prices for food and energy and also to absolute limitations – contrary to the potential of the ocean.
The ocean stores huge amounts of CO2, phosphates, compounds of nitrogen and silicon and also offers unlimited amounts of water.
A long term solution for feeding the world and for supplying sufficient sustainable energy has to involve the ocean.
Single cell micro-algae come in many variations and are highly productive and efficient organisms.
Compared with soy, palm or jatropha, micro-algae produce biomass faster, use up to 50 times less area and contain more valuable compounds (higher grade oils, DHA, EPA…). We concentrate micro-algae into a paste after harvesting, dewatering and centrifugation in a chemical-free process. The paste can be used as is or further processed by ultrasonication, enzyme-catalysed hydrolysis, esterification, or drying.
Bio-oil is processed from algae paste by means of trans-esterification in which algal triglycerides react with methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst. One day bio-oil could become the energy carrier of photosynthesis by coupling the Wintershine-process to a renewable sea-based form of energy creation (e.g. wave, tidal, wind energy conversion or OTEC) to refine biofuels in a scalable manner on site and offshore.
Algae cultivation needs a lot of surface area, water, nutrients and CO2. Due to light requirements, shallow raceways or bioreactors are ideally suited for scalable solutions. The best places on the ocean to support floating raceways is in typhoon-free equatorial waters.
Micro-algae is our solution for the prevention of natural water eutrophication and recycling of nutrients produced in aquaculture. Our closed loop algal bioremediation step allows the fish effluent from recirculation systems to be used as fertilizer for the growth of marine micro-algae which are a valuable source of protein, oils and carbohydrates.
Singapore Aquaculture Technologies (SAT), a subsidiary of Wintershine, produces sustainably sea-farmed fish. By using holding tanks on floating platforms the ocean space is claimed for “modern” aquaculture. Water quality is monitored and water is filtered, treated and oxygenated, ensuring well-defined conditions for stress-free growth. This helps to achieve good food conversion rates with minimal use of chemicals or antibiotics.
We use aquaculture systems running in both flows through and recirculation. The SAT blueprint is scalable, profitable, sustainable and ecologically responsible.
Combining Wintershine’s algae cultivation with SAT’s aquaculture allows one aquatic species to serve as input for another e.g. as fertiliser or food. Our integrated algae/aquaculture operation also benefits from the sharing of CAPEX and OPEX for intake systems, power generation systems and floating platforms. The cost of constructing a sea-based system compared to the excavation of ponds considerably lowers the required investment and decouples the production from the cost and scarcity of land.