Alternative CO2 sources to be used for the algae cultivation system. (Photo: Aeon Biogroup/FIS)
Wine and microalgae, joined in an innovative project
Thursday, April 19, 2012, 02:50 (GMT + 9)
Aeon Biogroup firm is developing an innovative project to use carbon dioxide (CO2) generated during the fermentation of wine for farming spirulina (Arthrospiraplatensis), a nutrient-rich microalgae.
Spirulina has a lot of protein, antioxidants (beta carotene, chlorophyll and phycocyanin), minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and iron), vitamins (D, B2, A, B12 and B1) and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Its consumption is recommended for people who want to eat healthy and natural food, especially athletes, vegetarians, children, elderly people, pregnant women and celiac patients.
The initiative is co-financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA). It has also been joined by Miguel Torres vineyard and Aquasolar Microalgas.
The main objectives of the initiators of the project are to create a new business alternative to the wine industry and to reduce the carbon footprint of its offer, adding more value, according to El Pingüino.
"This is a unique initiative in the world of micro-algae industry, and will offer the possibility of obtaining products such as cereal tablets and bars enriched with spirulina for human consumption, which could be traded in Chile and abroad, in addition to capturing the CO2 emitted by Miguel Torres vineyard due to the fermentation process of the grape," explained Luis Ignacio Merino, coordinator of the initiative.
Furthermore, the production of spirulina flakes is expected for the pet food, aquaculture and poultry markets.
The project coordinator also explained that in the country some products based on this microalga are also traded but in the future their export is foreseen.
Meanwhile, Tomas García Huidobro, FIA innovation executive and project supervisor, stressed that "CO2 is a byproduct of wine processing and it is now discarded as it has no value to the wine industry."
The project will provide value to the gas by turning it into an input for microalgae farming and with respect to the environmental field, it will help the wine industry to reduce its carbon footprint.
The participants in the project started in the last quarter of last year expect to finish the laboratory tests in the coming months.
It is hoped the first catches of the fermentation gas from the 2012 vintage take place after installing equipment to capture, purify and compress the gas to be packed.
This gas will be used for testing the effect it has on microalgae growth in the laboratory compared with the industrial CO2.
By Analia Murias