It was during his studies that Dr. Pankratz realized that “the emerging algae industry has the potential to eclipse the oil and gas industry as it has been known to our generation. Anything that you can do with petroleum products can be created with algae and much more!” This would include energy, chemistries, plastics, food, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, clean air, clean waterand preparation for travel in space,
As a result of his studies, the company which he now leads has expanded to include a significant focus on addressing what Dr. Pankratz believes to be the key impediment and holdback on the algae industry as a whole. There is need to drop the production cost of algae cultivation by an order of magnitude. Bring the cost of the biomass feedstock down by a factor of 10 and this industry will surge forward. This however is a non-trivial challenge. In particular if you attempt to do this in Canada.
Conventional thinking has been that microalgae cultivation can be produced most cost effectively in large open pond raceway systems located in temperate climates with an abundance of sunlight and access to water. Although this can be done in Canada, the long winters would effectively limit cultivation to the warmest 3-6 months depending on location.
Dr. Pankratz set out an extraordinarily bold challenge for Summit View Development Corp. to develop an environmentally controlled photobioreactor (PBR) system that would:
As at the beginning of 2022 the first four objectives have been achieved based on research utilizing spirulina algae with demonstration at bench 10L scale. Patent applications have been submitted related to the technological developments. Tasty cookies that incorporate spirulina as an ingredient may be found and purchased at:
This project aims to scale to a commercial level of a 10m3 and to fully automate and optimize system processes from cultivation through to harvesting, drying, and storage.
The next step in scale up operations will be to design / construct a 1m3 PBR algae cultivation platform.
Therefore, research efforts must include emphasis on reducing the energy input costs.