The new technology led by research from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will revolutionize the identification of ‘superalgae’, which hold the key to helping industry remove carbon quickly and greatly improve sustainability.
Algae are microscopic aquatic plants that, when grown in a bioreactor, can absorb carbon from the atmosphere up to 40 times more efficiently than trees. With the right attributes, this algae can be used in industries such as food and beverage, textile fibres, bioplastics, and biofuels.
In partnership with the world leader in developing and manufacturing cutting-edge devices for research in the biological sciences, PSI (Photon Systems Instruments), UTS researchers at the Climate Change Cluster (C3) have created the world’s first fully automated robotic system that screens thousands of algae species every day, enabling scientists to Focus on the attributes necessary to accelerate discovery across a range of industries.
Previously, it took scientists six months of full-time manual experimental work to characterize a single strain of algae. This new technique makes it possible to analyze the same strain of algae in just one week. This is a cost saving of over $2 million annually.
Our collaboration with PSI, a global technology leader with a shared mission to support industries to become more sustainable, is a game-changer in the quest to use ‘superalgae’ to combat climate change, and will create a new algae biotechnology industry here in Australia.
Distinguished Professor Peter Ralph
Climate Change Cluster Director at UTS
Distinguished Professor Peter Ralph, Director of C3, says the robotic system equates to 20 scientists working 24/7 to find this “superalgae”.
For each type of algae found on the farm, there are hundreds of thousands yet to be identified. Professor Ralph said, by significantly accelerating the discovery and characterization of the use of this advanced technology, we are unlocking huge potential for industry to rapidly benefit from “superalgae” to decarbonize their manufacturing processes.
“Our collaboration with PSI, a global technology leader with a shared mission to support industries to become more sustainable, is a game-changer in the pursuit of using ‘super algae’ to combat climate change, and will create a new algae biotechnology industry here in Australia.”
PSI built the first fully automated robotic system of its kind, called the Virtual Algae System, based on C3 research.
“With rapid advances in core technologies, PSI is translating them into user-friendly applications for research centers and industry. For nearly 30 years, we have been developing cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind technologies, often in close collaboration with leading researchers around the world.
“Our technology can be found in more than 80% of the top-ranked academic institutions in the world, and recently one of our portable devices was used aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Robotic systems like the one at UTS use robotic applications and computer vision to perform repetitive tasks that were performing previously made by humans.They will speed up discovery by allowing scientists to do more creative work.
UTS is leading the way in better characterizing and understanding how the superalgae could play a critical role in slowing climate change. For this reason, we believe Australia can be at the forefront of this field, developing new technologies and providing significant benefits to the industry. In turn, we should see a significant increase in revenue in the end user companies as well as the creation of new business opportunities. “
The Algae Phenotyping System is designed to be fully scalable for industrial purposes. Whether in a small university lab or an industrial-sized warehouse, PSI has the ability to easily scale a solution.
UTS and PSI will then focus on adapting the system for trait analysis in different strains of seaweed. The industry focusing on seaweed is estimated to be worth US$15 billion.
#UTS #Super #algae #save #planet