Industrial valorisation of microalgae

We offer a complete range of services geared towards the industrial use of microalgae, from strain screening to production scale-up.

Our teams are there to guide you when it comes to selecting strains and determining the optimal conditions for microalgal cultivation. We launch a battery of tests on various production systems, be they closed or open, and are able to test or develop different types of custom-made photobioreactors.
We also manage recovery operations up to the extraction-purification of the relevant microalgal compounds: carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.

Our efforts go a long way towards furthering the development of high-potential innovative products such as bioplastics, biofuels, biomaterials, bio-bitumen, spirulina, etc.
By means of R&D services and collaborative research projects, Capacités presents manufacturers and laboratories with their GEPEA Laboratory know-how in the industrial use of microalgae: reusing CO2, nitrogen and waste heat from industrial activities that cause pollution in order to create valuable resources.

Services

Strategy and consulting

Diagnostics and screening

Process development

Biorefining

Biorefining

No matter the challenge, our experts deliver practical and innovative solutions

Screening, selection and optimisation of strains

Our teams have access to the collections of strains from the GEPEA and MMS research laboratories. Where necessary, they can also make use of the RCC and NCC collections, among others. Due to our expertise in strain characterisation, we are able to guide you through the screening, isolation and purification stages.

In a nutshell
STRAIN PORTFOLIO SCREENINGISOLATIONCHARACTERISATIONPURIFICATIONTORUS PHOTOBIOREACTORS
  • Portfolio of industrial strains
  • Screening of new strains
  • Bioprospecting and sourcing of wild strains
  • Isolation and characterisation of HVA molecules
  • Micromanipulators – purification of strains
  • Strain screening in photobioreactors: EOSS technology
  • Experimental torus photobioreactors in a controlled environment

Development, testing and automation of cultivation processes

On the strength of our technical resources, we are able to test, measure and monitor all the relevant cultivation parameters for algal biomass production in real time: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus levels, quantity of light, quantity of water, biological contamination, weather conditions, etc.

We also work on automating cultivation processes by designing monitoring tools capable of automatically adjusting the cultivation parameters in photobioreactors.

In a nutshell
TECHNOLOGY TESTING CONCENTRATION AND HARVESTINGPROCESS DEVELOPMENTGROWTH MONITORINGWASTEWATER TREATMENT

Cultivation

  • Characterising existing technologies
  • Developing innovative technologies
  • Optimising solar production
  • Industrial feasibility study
  • Environmental impact
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Technology testing

Biomass concentration and harvesting

  • Preconcentration and concentration systems
  • Filtration and membrane separation processes
  • Centrifuges

Process development

  • Technical and scientific consulting regarding the creation of photobioreactors, as well as harvesting and biorefinery systems
  • Support for the defining and drafting specifications
  • Testing of innovative cultivation technologies in a real-world environment with either artificial or natural light (plug & play mode)
  • Equipment development

Growth monitoring

  • Monitoring including: dry matter, observation under microscope, counting, etc.
  • Precise characterisation of the microalgal biomass (pigments, lipids, proteins, polysaccharides, etc.)
  • Analysis of organic and inorganic carbons
  • Analysis of the physico-chemical composition of the culture (nitrates, phosphates, ammonium, metals, etc.)

Treatment and industrial waste recovery

  • Bioremediation of gaseous and liquid wastes
  • Using waste heat
  • Combining cultures – effluents and developing circular economy concepts
  • Optimisation and recycling of the culture medium

Biorefining, comparative testing and combining unit operations

Our specialists examine the integration of unit operations, either in the research laboratory or on site, with a view to completely recovering the biomass produced. We develop the process up to the extraction-purification of those biomolecules indicated in your specifications. Our research is validated in real-world conditions and on a representative scale.

In a nutshell
HARVESTINGMILLING – ENRICHMENT EXTRACTION PURIFICATIONCONDITIONING

Harvesting

  • Centrifugation
  • Flotation
  • Decanting
  • Granular filtration
  • Membrane filtration

Grinding

  • High-pressure grinding
  • Bead milling

Concentration and enrichment of target metabolites

  • Targeted metabolites: polysaccharides, bioactive lipids, pigments, secondary metabolites
  • Membrane filtration
  • Centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC)
  • Resins

Extraction

  • Solvent extraction
  • Centrifugal extraction
  • Reactive extraction

Adsorption

  • Membrane filtration
  • Precipitation
  • Distillation, rectification
  • Purification
  • Centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC, preparative or production)
  • Crystallisation

Biomass conditioning methods

  • Drying
  • Atomisation
  • Lyophilisation

Mass balance, biomass analysis

Along with the unwavering support of the GEPEA and CEISAM laboratories, we possess the expertise and range of analytical equipment necessary for a precise biochemical characterisation of the organic matter present, the metabolites produced and the biomolecules extracted. We are thus able to carry out our analyses in an entirely autonomous and confidential manner.

In a nutshell
PROTEIN DOSAGE COMPOUND PROFILING CLASS PROFILING FAMILY PROFILINGSPECTRO ANALYSISNMR

Dosage

  • Pigment dosage via spectrometry
  • Protein dosage via colorimetric analysis
  • Total monosaccharide dosage via colorimetric analysis

Profiling

  • Compound profiling: polar via GC-MS and water-soluble via HPLC
  • Class profiling via HPTLC
  • Family profiling via FTIR

Types of analysis

  • UV-vis et NIR spectrochemical analysis
  • Online analysis of biomass composition via benchtop NMR
  • Access to the MS and NMR platforms of BiogenOuest (Corsaire network)

Scaling up the microalgae cultivation processes

We test and validate the scale-up and industrialisation conditions of the processes. Our wide array of equipment allows us to design pilots and to implement laboratory-scale production, as well as to make and deliver samples destined for trials (consumer, preclinical and clinical).

In a nutshell
IDENTIFYING CONSTRAINTS PILOT PLANT INDUSTRIALISATIONCUSTOM MANUFACTURING

Identifying and validating constraints

  • Mass and heat transfer limitations
  • High partial pressure of O2/CO2
  • pH/temperature gradients
  • Substrate gradients
  • Pressure
  • Light

Industrialisation of the process

  • Tests and trials with a view to scaling up
  • Validation of industrial raw materials on laboratory equipment
  • Characterisation studies of pilot equipment (standard) prior to validation tests
  • Integrating the new process into the existing process chain

Custom manufacturing

  • Small trials: production from gram to kilogram according to the established protocol
  • Setting up pilot production units in order to monitor various parameters and potential limitations

Collaborative research activities and R&D projects

Since we have access to the technical resources and researchers belonging to the GEPEA Laboratory, we are able to develop innovative projects through R&D in the marine bioresources recovery fields, and particularly in microalgae.

In a nutshell
INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY WASTEWATER TREATMENTBIOFUELSBATCH PRODUCTIONINNOVATIVE PROCESSES EQUIPMENT TESTING
  • Biofuel production
  • Treatment of liquid waste and industrial fumes
  • Production of active ingredients
  • Production of bio-based materials
  • Biomass batch production
  • Research and testing of cultivation systems
  • Equipment testing
  • Optimisation of cultivation parameters

ALGOSOLIS technology and R&D facility

AlgoSolis provides us with the necessary equipment and infrastructure for the controlled, intensive and sustainable use of microalgal resources on a large scale. This platform allows the various stakeholders to develop microalgal cultures in open and closed ponds. The modelling and designing of custom-made photobioreactors is also available. This technology service promotes the development of innovative research projects in the field of blue biotechnology.

In a nutshell
PRE-CULTURE ROOMS INTENSIFIED PHOTOBIOREACTORS AIRLIFT PHOTOBIOREACTORSCLOSED RACEWAYS OUTDOOR PRODUCTION GREENHOUSE PRODUCTION BIOREFINERY HALL

Production area

  • 1500m² (350m² thermoregulated)
  • More than 20 independent lines
  • 20L to 10 000L of culture

Facilities

  • Biorefinery process hall (240m²)
  • Pre-culture rooms
  • Analytical testing laboratory (100m²)

R&D downstream processing

  • Harvesting processes
  • Membrane filtration
  • Cell disruption processes
  • Extraction/fractionation of metabolites

Processing units

  • Stand-alone or linked to form a complete operating process downstream of production

Automation of the entire facility

Training in microalgae cultivation

This professional training course, which is headed up by the research professors of the GEPEA Laboratory and the engineers at Capacités, provides the theoretical and practical elements involved in the entire microalgae production chain, from the preparation of media and inoculums to the ultimate harvesting of the biomass produced in natural light. The course is endorsed by the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique.

  • Good cultivation practices [1 day]
  • Cultivation engineering [2 days]
  • Harvesting microalgae [1 day]
GEPEA


Engineering at Capacités

Our biodegradability experts carry out their engineering work directly in the research laboratories of Nantes Université, in particular at the GEPEA. On a daily basis, they combine technical means and scientific discoveries to meet your R&D challenges.

Our projects

Challenges we’ve met

Microalgae for wastewater treatment

GLS is an engineering company specialised in water treatment and, as such, frequently designs wastewater treatment plants. In that context, it must comply with the legal limits of nitrogen and phosphorous content in the treated wastewater discharged from the plant.

Read this success story

Producing cholesterol-lowering microalgae at industrial scale

ezCOL BV called upon experts in bioprocess engineering from Capacités to scale up the microalgal biomass production and provide the volume necessary for a clinical trial.

Read this success story

Producing high value-added molecules from microalgae

Capacités was entrusted for the implementation of the biorefinery process, as well as scaling it up for routine.

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Producing biodiesel from endemic microalgae in french guiana

SARA recognized Capacités’ experience in strain screening and trusted them with collecting algae strains from their natural environment, isolating them and determining their cultivation parameters.

Read this success story

Microalgae to valorise waste heat and industrial CO2

As part of an industrial ecology initiative aimed at mitigating waste heat and industrial effluents rich in CO2 that are produced by cement plants, ADEME (French Agency for Environment and Energy Management) funded the project “CIMENTALGUE”.

Read this success story

Biorefining microalgae: successfully scaling up

An interview with the co-founder and CEO of AlgoSource

Read this success story

Microalgae: how to recover CO2 from industrial sites into biomaterials and biofuels

Read this success story

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