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Large-scale Algae Culturing Facilities Established in Malaysia

2019/08/22 16:28
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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The algae culturing facilities set up in Sarawak State, Malaysia (source: Chitose Group)
The research project in the state (source: Chitose Group)

Chitose Group, a group of bio-venture companies, announced Aug 20, 2019, that it has designed and supervised the world's largest-class culturing facilities for algae in tropical environments.

The culturing facilities were established in Sarawak State, Malaysia, jointly by Mitsubishi Corp and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), which is a state-run research institute based in Sarawak State.

Mitsubishi and SBC launched a project to collect useful algae and commercialize them in the state in October 2012. As a technical adviser for Mitsubishi, Chitose Group has been running the project in the state and providing technical instructions to SBC's researchers since 2013.

For the algae culturing facilities that Chitose Group designed and supervised this time, a three-dimensional structure that can take full advantage of tropical environments, where the temperature is stable and there is a large amount of solar radiation throughout the year, was employed. Moreover, the construction cost of the facilities was drastically reduced by using a structure that makes it easy to increase scale.

The area of the facilities is 1,000m2. After the completion of the construction in November 2018, Mitsubishi and SBC continually conducted culture tests and enabled to start a business using the facilities.

They started to provide algae cultured with the facilities to shrimp farms/hatcheries, and they are used as feed, water conditioners, etc. They plan to have an opening ceremony Aug 27, 2019.

Chitose Group owns technologies to culture microorganisms and algae in large amounts for use in various industries. It established facilities for the verification test of the production of algae in Kagoshima Prefecture and succeeded in the long-term, continuous production of algae (Botryococcus) for jet fuel, etc on a pilot scale.

Also, it carried out the large-scale outdoor culture of edible algae (Spirulina) in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and commercialized Spirulina products.