WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Aug 6, 2015) - The Algae Biomass Organization, the trade association for the algae industry, today announced that Martin Sabarsky, CEO of Cellana, has been appointed Chair of the organization's Board of Directors for the 2015-2016 term, and Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at Algenol, has been appointed Vice Chair. Previous Chair, Tim Burns, Co-founder and Board Member of BioProcess Algae LLC, remains on the board. Sabarsky and Beaudry-Losique will build on the solid work of their ABO predecessors to guide the algae industry as its member companies continue to build out a competitive supply chain for a plethora of products, from fuels and feeds to chemicals and nutraceuticals while also providing a novel -- and economically viable -- pathway for utilities to reduce their overall emissions through carbon capture and utilization. ABO's board guides the organization in its mission to educate the general public, policymakers, and industry about the benefits and potential of algae to provide sustainable solutions for commodity chemicals, fuels, food, and feed applications, as well as for high-value applications such as nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics among other applications. In addition, ABO's board works closely with its Executive Director to advocate for policies that can accelerate the development of key market segments and commercial-scale algae production facilities for the full range of products that can be made from algae. ABO's board comprises representatives from multiple sectors of an industry that is experiencing more investment and seeing new commercial facilities opening or being planned around the world. Board members come from industry sectors that include academia, professional services, algae biomass producers, technology suppliers, project developers, and end-users. "Martin and Jacques are respected leaders in the algae industry, and I look forward to working with them as we position algae technologies to have wide-ranging impacts in dozens of markets," said Matt Carr, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Algae Biomass Organization. "They are both existing board members, and their experience and organizational knowledge will help ABO open markets, develop investment opportunities, and advocate for policies that will accelerate this cutting-edge industry. Outgoing Chair Tim Burns deserves thanks for his invaluable leadership and hard work. I look forward to working with him as he continues his service on the board." Martin Sabarsky has more than 15 years of experience in the industrial biotechnology/cleantech industry and has served since 2011 as the CEO of Cellana, a leading developer of algae-based nutritional and energy products. Prior to joining Cellana, he led the corporate development function at Diversa Corp. (now known as Verenium Corp., a subsidiary of BASF) as Vice President of Corporate Development. Before Diversa, Sabarsky worked as a life sciences investment banker with Bear Stearns, where he was a lead banker on Diversa's $200 million IPO in 2000. He also worked as a transactional attorney with Latham & Watkins LLP. Sabarsky has a B.A. in Biology and Political Science from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. Jacques Beaudry-Losique has more than 25 years of experience working in the energy and technology sectors and is the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at Algenol, a global technology developer of algae-based carbon emissions solutions and fuel production. Prior to Algenol, Jacques was the Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for Codexis, a publicly traded biofuels and biopharma company. From 2005 to 2011, he held senior management positions at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). While at the DOE, he led efforts to build a second-generation biofuels industry across two administrations, managed three clean energy programs, and served for two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy. He was also instrumental in decisions to invest more than $1.5 billion of Recovery Act funds in renewable energy projects, including $800 million in biofuels projects. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Montreal, an M.S. in Engineering Management from Stanford University, and an M.S. in Management from MIT. Products made from algae are the natural solution to the energy, food, economic, and climate challenges facing the world today. This tiny but powerful organism has the ability to simultaneously put fuels in vehicles, reuse CO2, provide nutrition for animals and people, and create jobs for millions of Americans. More information can be found atwww.allaboutalgae.com. About the Algae Biomass Organization The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit whose mission is to promote the development of viable commercial markets for renewable and sustainable commodities derived from algae. Its membership includes more than 150 individuals, companies, and organizations across the value chain. More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits, and members and their affiliations, is available at the website:www.algaebiomass.org.
US - Scientists investigating the use of algal byproducts for feed have found that a novel algae meal derived from heterotrophic microalgae makes a suitable feed for cattle. Algae are organisms so environmentally adaptable that they flourish in wastelands, sewage and saline bodies of water. They can grow in high densities, in the dark and in the presence of high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphates. Harnessing the adaptive power of algae is a relatively new research field. Engineers across the country have developed algal biofuels, food additives and skincare products. Livestock scientists see its potential as a sustainable, high-energy feedstuff as well as a protein supplement. Amongst those scientists are Dr Megan Van Emon, Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Dr Daniel Loy, Professor of Animal Science at Iowa State University and Dr Stephanie Hansen, Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. Their paper, "Determining the preference, in vitro digestibility, in situ disappearance, and grower period performance of steers fed a novel algae meal derived from heterotrophic microalgae," is featured in June's issue of the Journal of Animal Science. Solazyme is a company that transforms algae into products like biofuel, cosmetics and cooking oil. They modify heterotrophic algae, which normally produce 5-10 per cent oil, to produce 80 per cent oil. The organisms are grown and processed in controlled media under very specific conditions. The oil is then harvested and incorporated into a variety of tailored products. The organization approached Dr Stephanie Hansen and her colleagues to assess the value of the remaining algal fraction, the dry cell wall that would otherwise be burned as waste. "We looked at the nutrient analysis of a blend of deoiled algae and soyhulls," said Dr Hansen. "Everyone thought that this could be a great ruminant feedstuff." While previous studies have studied pure algae supplements as sources of protein or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the current study is the first to feed a unique algae meal blend (ALG). The feedstuff (57 per cent microalgae) has slightly more fat content than corn, the same amount of protein and does not contain DHA. A preliminary experiment tested the DM digestibility of ALG compared with hay and soyhulls. Three more experiments took place (1) to determine if cattle would readily consume algae meal, (2) to determine the influence of DM disappearance of ALG and other feedstuffs and (3) to determine growth and DMI of ALG-fed grower calves. Four diets were fed to feedlot steers: a cracked corn control diet, and diets containing 15 per cent , 30 per cent and 45 per cent algae meal (CON, ALG15, ALG30 and ALG45, respectively.) The first two experiments involved three ruminally cannulated steers, and the third experiment involved 48 grower steers. In the grower study algae meal replaced wet corn gluten feed in the diet. The trials yielded a myriad of new information, notably:
- Cattle readily consumed algae meal at all concentrations without sorting. (1)
- ADG increased as ALG increased in the diet. (3)
- DMI increased linearly as ALG concentrations increased in the diet. (3)
- Finally, midpoint and final BW of steers were not affected by ALG. (3)
Algae byproduct meal proves to be excellent feedstuff for growing beef cattleAlgae are organisms so environmentally adaptable that they flourish in wastelands, sewage and saline bodies of water. They can grow in high densities, in the dark and in the presence of high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphates. Harnessing the adaptive power of algae is a relatively new research field. Engineers across the country have developed algal biofuels, food additives and skincare products. Livestock scientists see its potential as a sustainable, high-energy feedstuff as well as a protein supplement. Amongst those scientists are Dr. Megan Van Emon, Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Dr. Daniel Loy, Professor of Animal Science at Iowa State University and Dr. Stephanie Hansen, Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. Their paper, "Determining the preference, in vitro digestibility, in situ disappearance, and grower period performance of steers fed a novel algae meal derived from heterotrophic microalgae," is featured in June's issue of the Journal of Animal Science. Solazyme is a company that transforms algae into products like biofuel, cosmetics and cooking oil. They modify heterotrophic algae, which normally produce 5-10% oil, to produce 80% oil. The organisms are grown and processed in controlled media under very specific conditions. The oil is then harvested and incorporated into a variety of tailored products. The organization approached Dr. Stephanie Hansen and her colleagues to assess the value of the remaining algal fraction, the dry cell wall that would otherwise be burned as waste. "We looked at the nutrient analysis of a blend of deoiled algae and soyhulls," said Hansen. "Everyone thought that this could be a great ruminant feedstuff." While previous studies have studied pure algae supplements as sources of protein or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the current study is the first to feed a unique algae meal blend (ALG). The feedstuff (57% microalgae) has slightly more fat content than corn, the same amount of protein and does not contain DHA. A preliminary experiment tested the DM digestibility of ALG compared with hay and soyhulls. Three more experiments took place (1) to determine if cattle would readily consume algae meal, (2) to determine the influence of DM disappearance of ALG and other feedstuffs and (3) to determine growth and DMI of ALG-fed grower calves. Four diets were fed to feedlot steers: a cracked corn control diet, and diets containing 15%, 30% and 45% algae meal (CON, ALG15, ALG30 and ALG45, respectively.) The first two experiments involved three ruminally cannulated steers, and the third experiment involved 48 grower steers. In the grower study algae meal replaced wet corn gluten feed in the diet. The trials yielded a myriad of new information, notably: -Cattle readily consumed algae meal at all concentrations without sorting. -ADG increased as ALG increased in the diet. -DMI increased linearly as ALG concentrations increased in the diet. -Finally, midpoint and final BW of steers were not affected by ALG. Hansen says this initial collection of data translates to a promising future for algae meal. "We are currently working on FDA approval for the product," Hansen said. "Hopefully by 2016, cattlemen will be able to start incorporating it into rations, especially if they can find it at the right price." The research team is working together with Solazyme to determine the financial value of algae meal. Hansen expects the high-energy feedstuff to be priced competitively with corn. While most research initiatives are still in the experimental stages, continued studies on microalgae means commercial production of algal products is in the near future. Hansen and her colleagues recently completed two sheep digestibility projects where algae meal directly replaced soyhulls and corn. Those projects will be presented at the ADSA-ASAS Joint Annual Meeting next month with M.S. candidate Rebecca Stokes as the lead author. "The sustainability of algae production is pretty promising," Hansen said. "As we move into the next generation of cattle feeding and feedstuffs, it will be interesting to see where present and future versions of algae meal place themselves in the market." Story Source: The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Society of Animal Science. The original item was written by Jacquelyn Prestegaard. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150721162458.htm
Like a scene straight out of a horror film, a Turkish lake known for its salinity turned a deep shade of red recently.
"Because the lake is losing water, the salinity is getting higher and higher, which kills off a lot of the plankton that normally eat this red algae," Stony Brook University marine ecology research professor Dr. Christopher Gobler told ABC News. "So now, the algae is thriving and will probably red until the lake fully evaporates, probably next month during the peak of summer heat."
[Israel] Consumers are now used to seeing new information about how beneficial fruits and vegetables are to one’s health. But one of the healthiest items available may not even be a fruit or vegetable; it might be seaweed. “There is nothing in the world like seaweed,” said Omer Kamp of Arava Export Growers. “The nutritional value that it has is beyond comparison.” It can also add flavor to dishes without any of the bad sodium that can cause health risks. But while Kamp notes that it’s one of the healthiest items one can eat, the challenge has been to educate people on how to eat it. “We are still working on the consumers,” said Kamp. “They need to be educated, and it’s a process. People now understand that it’s healthy, but now they need to know what to do with it.” Arava is working with chefs throughout Europe to come up with recipes using seaweed and ideas on how to incorporate it into familiar dishes. Red seaweed, for example, can be used as a thickening and flavoring agent in soups, and green seaweed can be added to salads for additional nutrients. A promotional campaign with retailers is also in action, and though it’s been slow going, there has been progress. “Half a year ago, people didn’t even know what this product was or what it looked like,” said Kamp. “Now they know, and they want to get educated. But it’s a process and it’s going to take some time.” Arava production is eco-clean While there are other suppliers of seaweed selling the product in Europe, Kamp explained that Arava is unique in that its production is carried out in a controlled environment. A large pool just off the shore is filtered and contains sleeves filled with everything needed for seaweed to grow in a maintained environment. Kamp said they produce between 500 and 600 tons annually this way. Production that is done right out in the ocean can absorb unwanted compounds, but Arava’s controlled environment prevents that. “Seaweed is algae, and algae absorbs all of the elements that surround it, so you can get bad stuff out there and put it in your body,” said Kamp. “But we’re the only producer in the world that grows our seaweed in a controlled environment, so not only is it organic, but it’s also eco-clean.”
Lake Taihu, the third largest freshwater body in China, once was pure and beautiful and one of my fondest childhood memories. But like many things in China, it has fallen victim of GDP-focused development and now is devastated by pollution.
Local residents who resent these notorious algae didn’t know, however, these green matters could be a valuable feedstock for the polymer industry
Wuxi-based DLH (Delinhai) Tech Co. Ltd. said it has received an order from a U.S. customer to deliver 1,400 metric tons of algae powder in batches through the end of next year.
DLH told local media that it’s selling the powder at $500 per ton with a thin profit margin. Nevertheless, it’s a higher value-added application than traditional uses like compost and biogas power generation.
[China] The geological stone forest of Shilin is a set of limestone formations located in Shilin’s Yi Autonomous County, approximately 90 km (56 mi) away from the provincial capital city Kunming, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China. Since 2007, one of the most notable stone forest site, the Naigu stone forest, has been listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Minutes away from the World Heritage site, there is an astonishing man-made structure where thousand of kilometers of glass tubes are put together for the cultivation of microalgae. This structure is known as the photobioreactor. Last month, Algae World News paid a visit to this microalgae production plant and met with the company’s founding team members. Upon our arrival in the morning of 16th of June 2015, we were received by 4 warm-hearted young men, who are the founders of the company. We are glad that the team eventually agreed to share their experience with Algae World News’ readers. The successful establishment of such mega-structure was not easy. We were impressed that the pilot plant and the 1,000 km commercial scale glass-made tubular photobioreactor was actually constructed without any help from the algae industry experts or algae research institution. After many years of research in the algae and natural product industries, Eric Pan, the founder (now the technical director) of Yunnan GinkoAsta Biotech Co., Ltd., together with 2 of his ex-classmates, Fei Yang and Wei Xiang, demonstrated a pilot plant which produces a type of microalgae known as Haematococcus pluvialis, in year 2009. This was also one of the very first commercial prototype of H. pluvialis cultivation system demonstrated in China. “We started everything from scratch. I read hundreds of articles related to algae cultivation and production systems. We build our own lab, grow and acclimatize the algae, look for glass fabrication factory, construct the system, and secure investors. ” Eric recalled. In 2013, the team completed the first phase of the commercial H. pluvialisproduction plant. The 25 acre astaxanthin production facility features sealed glass tubes, which ensures a clean and contaminant-free environment for the growth of H. pluvialis.
Currently, operated by 80 emplyees, the facility is capable of producing 3 tons of pure astaxanthin per year and it is available for immediate shipment world-wide. "We are doubling the production by 2016. We believe that currently our company's astaxanthin production contributes 25% of the global astaxanthin market." Fei Yang stated.
Fei Yang is the R&D manager of the company.“We will be having our own on-site super-critical carbon dioxide extraction facility by next year. At the moment, we are sending the raw biomass product to Japan and Beijing for astaxanthin extraction and purification.” Fei Yang further elaborated. “Currently, Beijing Gingko Group (BGG), is one of the largest investor of our company. BGG is also the marketing arm of our company’s Haematococcus products such as astaxanthin. The product name “AstaZine” was registered and approved by the China’s Ministry of Health in year 2012 and it is now sold throughout the country as a health supplement.” Eric added.
BGG is one of the leading natural ingredients company in China which offer various kinds of natural ingredients to the marketplace.
In 2013, BGG initially invested in the purchase of over 25 acres of the most fertile and climatically suitable land in Shilin, and then invested in the photobioreactor technology to grow the microalgae for the production of natural astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is in short supply around the world, and BGG is now one of the leading producer in the Asian market.
According to algachina.com, in March 2013, Yunnan GinkoAsta Biotech So., LTD raised $10,000,000 as the initial construction capital, and then another $20,000,000 for further expansion in August of the same year.
"The market price of pure astaxanthin fluctuates around $12,000.00 per kilogram. The price is largely depending on its purity and its ratio to the total carotenoids." said Eric.“We spent years to select a strain that grows fast enough and accumulates high amount of astaxanthin. Our selected H. pluvialis strain requires only 6 days of cultivation in its green motile stage. The culture is then put under stress for 9-14 days for the synthesis and accumulation of astaxanthin. Having a productive strain is the key of a successful and profitable microalgae cultivation plant.” Wei Xiang explained. The astaxanthin content of the selected strain of H. pluvialis reaches 7%. On average, H. pluvialis accumulates up to 5% of astaxanthin only. Achieving high astaxanthin concentration lowers the cost for the extraction and purification. “Together with the new super-critical CO2 extraction facility, we will be handling every step from upstream farming, harvesting, and extraction to downstream product development, marketing and branding. This is like an one-stop service station for astaxanthin production and we believe that this is our unique selling point.” Wei Xiang said. At the end of the meeting, the team members told us the future plan of the company. “We are currently collaborating with research institutions and we are exploring the commercial viability of other valuable microalgae species. The market of astaxanthin may reach saturation in 5-10 years time. Competitors are rising, technologies are becoming easily accessible, and we are always looking into solutions in longer run. Being innovative in terms of product development is the key to business sustainability.” Eric said. https://youtu.be/nYT_eN2IPfk Read more at: http://news.algaeworld.org/2015/07/the-worlds-largest-haematococcus-farm-in-china/
DIC Corp unveils state of the art spirulina extraction plant to meet growing demand for natural blue food color.
Tokyo-based DIC Corporation – which claims to be the world’s largest producer of spirulina – has finished building a $10m state-of-the-art extraction plant for the blue-green algae in southern California to meet growing demand for natural blue food colors-with commercial production expected to begin in September.
While other fruit-and vegetable-based natural blue colors have been available to US manufacturers for some time, demand for spirulina extract has surged in the part 18 months following moves by the FDA to approve its use in a wide variety of foodstuffs, said DIC.
“DIC estimates that the global market for natural blue food coloring will double between now and 2018, by which time it also expects the DIC Group’s share of this market to expand to 50%, from 20% at present.”
The new extraction facility – which will produce DIC’s Linablue natural blue food coloring from phycocyanin, a blue colorant extracted from spirulina using a water extraction process – is next door to the spirulina farm of DIC’s US subsidiary Earthrise Nutritionals, a leading player in the spirulina dietary supplements market.
Currently, DIC makes Linablue in Hainan Island in China, where it operates another spirulina production facility. However, having a second extraction facility in California will enable it to respond more effectively to demand in the US, said the firm, which has been operating at full capacity at the Hainan Island site for some time.
What is Spirulina?
A nutrient-rich blue-green algae that grows naturally in lakes in Africa and Central and South America, Spirulina contains more than 50 vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron, and thrives in high-alkaline waters where other organisms cannot survive. It is also high in protein, fiber and gamma-linolenic acid.
Earthrise grows spirulina in water from the Colorado river, whih is pumped through canals to large settling ponds, through filters and into the growing ponds. The production system employs a closed-loop system where everything is recycled.
Clean water, carbon and nutrients are added daily to feed the algae, which is mixed by huge paddle wheels.
Read more at: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Suppliers2/DIC-Corp-unveils-state-of-the-art-spirulina-extraction-plant
Experts at the Oregon State University originally planned to grow high-quality abalone by feeding it with a new strain of algae. However, a business professor saw the potential of the patented seaweed as a superfood that surprisingly tastes like bacon. (Photo : Photo: Akuppa John Wigham | Flickr ) Experts from the Oregon State University (OSU) have developed a superfood that is made out of seaweed but surprisingly tastes like bacon. The unexpected mix of food elements was unveiled after a new strain of dulse, which is a red marine algae, was patented for the consumption of a sea creature. According to the experts, the bacon-tasting superfood is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. The original objective of the project is to develop a superfood for abalone, says Chris Langdon from the OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center. High-quality abalone is of utmost essentiality, particularly in Asia. The research team fed abalones with their patented dulse and later found that the growth rate was able to surpass the numbers indicated in the literature. Although there have been expressed interests towards the possibility of making dulse available for humans, the researchers focused on using it to feed the abalone alone. Dulse or Palmaria are wild seaweeds that grow along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. These sea resources may provide income as its dried form used as cooking ingredient can be sold by up to $90 per pound. The researchers at OSU developed and controlled a new strain of this algae, which had been budding in their laboratories for 15 years. The new strain resembles a red algae that have a translucent appearance, and is said to contain antioxidants and 16 percent of protein when dried. The possible feasibility of this new strain for other uses aside from abalone consumption started when Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in the College of Business at OSU saw the growing dulse in Langdon's office. He was then looking for a probable project for his students taking up business and when he saw the seaweeds in the bubbling containers, his interest set in. "Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale," says Toombs. "And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon." Toombs then collaborated with OSU's Food Innovation Center. A team of product development specialists then used dulse as the main ingredient for a variety of new food items. Although dulse is highly nutritious, has a wide range of uses (dried or fresh) and can grow swiftly, making it a good candidate for economic purposes, Gil Sylvia, director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center says no complete investigation had been made regarding its economic feasibility. Nonetheless, the Oregon Department of Agriculture awarded a grant to the research group for them to further study and investigate on dulse as a "specialty crop." With this, the team was able to collaborate with Jason Ball, who used to work for the University of Copenhagen's Nordic Food Lab, where he mentored chefs to use local products more efficiently. His main contribution to the team is his 'culinary research' chef's perspective, says Sylvia. At present, some chefs based in Portland are now looking at the potential uses of fresh dulse, and according to them, dulse may have significant applicabilities both as a raw seaweed or a food additive. The MBA students of Toombs are currently mapping out a marketing plan for a new series of specialty food items and studying the possibility for creating a new industry in the aquaculture sector. Read more at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/68892/20150715/osu-researchers-unveil-superfood-seaweed-that-tastes-just-like-bacon.htm
[Singapore] Floating on the surface of Pandan Reservoir in Singapore’s south west are what researchers hope will be the future of cheap, real-time water quality testing. Developed by a team at the National University of Singapore (NUS), in conjunction with the national water agency PUB, the NUSwan utilises advanced water monitoring technology, fitted into the shell that closely resembles a living, breathing bird. “We started with a number of smaller bird models, before we decided on the swan. It’s just the right size,” said Assistant Professor Mandar Chitre, one of the project’s lead researchers. “If you look at it in the environment, it just looks like a swan swimming around.” A small team at the NUS Environmental Research Institute, working with the Tropical Marine Science Institute, initially conceptualised the robot back in 2010 but only began their first series of test bedding last year. The aim is to mobilise the robotic swans to monitor different physical and biological compounds in fresh water, including pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll, which are common indicators used to determine if there are problems in a water source. At present, water authorities face the logistical challenge of physically having to collect samples from large bodies of water, normally using a boat. It is an approach that requires time and manpower and restricts the speed at which officials can act in the case of an outbreak or a contamination. “It would be expensive to do similar monitoring manually or using AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles),” said Asst Prof Chitre. “Hence to reduce reliance on manpower and increase efficiency in water quality monitoring, we are constantly looking into developing new technology with improved capabilities.” “Scientifically, the NUSwan test drives a new paradigm of freshwater monitoring, one that is persistent and interactive, and is potentially able to sample the dynamics of water quality over space and time at improved resolution at an affordable cost,” he added. The swans work by trawling particular areas of interest in a water body and wirelessly sending back data through cloud computing. Programmers will be able to remotely control the robots, but the aim is to ensure they are as autonomous as possible, requiring just basic monitoring and operation, which can happen from anywhere with an internet connection. The researchers said the swans’ navigation is more advanced than an automatic vacuum cleaner for instance, which can avoid obstacles but cannot tell where it has already travelled. The SWAN uses GPS to ensure it does not duplicate its monitoring efforts, unless programmed to. They are durable enough such that even if a recreational water user such as a kayaker, or even a small boat, hits the swan, it will not be damaged, according to the teams behind the technology. TECHNOLOGY POTENTIAL They believe they are at just the tip of realising the potential of this system and have designed the NUSwan to be adaptable to various environmental challenges that may arise. “The NUSwan platform is designed to be extendable – new sensors and actuators can be added on demand to increase its sensing capability,” said Mr Koay Teong Beng, one of the other leading researchers on the project. Already the team is collaborating with other university researchers to combine technologies and stretch the swans to their technological limits. This includes a highly sensitive freshwater phosphate sensor, which is being developed independently by a separate NUS team. Phosphates are key nutrients in the development of blue-green algal blooms, which can be devastating for water sources. There is a hope that technology such as the phosphate sensor could be mobilised by the NUSwan, and provide a real-world alarm system to the threat of algal blooms, a common problem encountered in more polluted waterways as a result of fertilisers, sewerage and domestic waste. Earlier this year, a proliferation of algal blooms in oxygen-depleted, bacteria-rich waters caused thousands of fish to die. While the phosphate sensor has only been tested in fresh water, it is this kind of scenario that it is designed to help prevent. “Phosphate detection was lacking; phosphate sensors are not available in the market,” said Lanry Yung, Associate Professor of Chemical and Bio-molecule Engineering . “The prototype is finished. Now we are trying to do automation and collaboration with the NUSwan team to work on hardware. “Salt complicates the process, but nonetheless it’s something to look into at the next stage,” he said. The NUSwan has received interest from water authorities across the region, particularly in China where water pollution is a pressing issue and where the system will be tested on several rivers in the south of the country. That could potentially see the robotic swans floating on some of the world’s largest water reservoirs in the near future. “We see the potential of having NUSwans deployed in urban freshwater bodies and coastal water beyond Singapore. With the data stored in the cloud, collaborators may share and aggregate data and understand global phenomena,” Asst Prof Chitre said. https://youtu.be/gGRs0V215YI Read more at: http://news.algaeworld.org/2015/07/robot-swans-bring-new-advanced-technology-to-water-testing/ http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/robot-swans-bring-new/1958380.html