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Austria: a greenhouse filled with algaeIn the Austrian municipality Bruck an der Leitha a new greenhouse has been built with an unusual cultivation: algae. Proud owner ecoduna recently started the test operation. The algae is cultivated for the food, food supplement, feed, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, where they are processed into products like tablets, capsules, powders, drinks, foods and various other applications.
Jan Jansen from Greenhouse Industry Consultancy advised ecoduna on the greenhouse, screens and heating. "About five years ago ecoduna started with a test greenhouse of a few hundred square meters", Jan says. "Based on the results, they decided to undertake the production of algae on a larger scale."
The greenhouse is 1 hectare in size; it has a surface area of 165 by 64 meters and a height of 8 meters. In the greenhouse 43,000 six meters high glass tubes are set up in rows.
Jan calls the screens, the heating and the installation of the greenhouse fairly simple. "The installation in which the algae is cultivated, in contrast is a very complicated and ingenious system. Algae cultivation is put in, CO2 is added and oxygen is extracted."
An option for vegetable growers?
Whether this cultivation will be seen again at greenhouse vegetable growers, is something Jan is not sure about. "It is a very specific cultivation that requires a lot of attention and know how. It is not something that you just can do on the side. ecoduna developed their system during the last years with experts from different fields. Jan mentions a Dutch grower who has done tests with horizontal tubes under his tomato cultivation. "According to ecoduna algae in particular needs as much light as possible, hence such a combination is not a good idea."
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