Swedish Algae Factory, a start-up supported by InnoEnergy, received close to 17 MSEK (approx. 1.7M€) from the EU LIFE programme. The grant will be used to scale up the material extraction from algae that can increase the efficiency of solar cells.
Swedish Algae Factory’s innovation increases the efficiency of solar panels by using the shell from the silicon alloy. The shell of this microscopic and nanoporous silicon algae has been naturally designed through million of years to trap light so efficiently that the algae can survive on harnessed sunlight at the bottom of dark Nordic sea. This makes the algae shell material perfect for use in increasing the efficiency of solar panels.
Thanks to the grant from LIFE, the production will now be scaled up to tonnes and will allow to further test the possibilities of enhancing efficiency with customers.
Sofie Allert, CEO of the Swedish Algae Factory: “Getting the grant from EU LIFE programme is a quality-stamp with regards to the impact of our business. We are looking forward to scaling up our activities with the help of this grant.”
A production with further environmental benefits
In the production of silicon alloys a series of natural environmental benefits arise. Swedish Algae Factory grows the silicon algae on nutritious water from a nearby fish farm. As they grow, they capture carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorous. The culture is therefore a perfect combination of a trap of greenhouse gases and waste water treatment. The algae is also used to produce organic biomass that can provide a sustainable alternative to fish feed.
A future in colour, sunscreen and skin care
The material will soon start to be tested in other exciting applications. The material has indeed shown potential to be used as a natural UV filter in colour, plastic and sunscreens, as well as an absorbent and moisture-control ingredient in skin care and cosmetics.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.