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BrightWave Brings Industrial Scale Algae Cultivation Indoors

From its headquarters in Maryland, ABO member BrightWave is combining elegant technology design with nature’s own carbon capture methods to make industrial scale algae cultivation more widely available than ever before. 

Aside from transforming industrial scale algae cultivation, BrightWave’s technology also delivers on two of the most promising potentials driving interest in photosynthetic algae today: meaningful carbon capture, and the production of high-value biofeedstocks that can replace petroleum-based ingredients. 

Next-Generation Bioreactors

BrightWave’s next-generation bioreactors address two of the most pernicious problems of current reactor operation: heat transfer and maintenance. The company has designed, developed and patented an in-water grow light that effectively removes the heat generated by the light and ensures it doesn’t affect the surrounding cultures. This lighting system is also integrated with an innovative and automated cleaning mechanism that sharply reduces the need for laborious downtime. 

With BrightWave’s technology, algae cultivation and carbon mitigation systems can now be scaled indoors and operate in any environment, ensuring that valuable resources such as land and water can be managed more efficiently. 

The closed environment of the BrightWave system ensures that large volumes of biomass can be produced to meet high standards for purity or other market specifications. And the ability to bundle PBRs also makes for new economies of scale that can apply to virtually any algae application, including carbon reduction projects sought by many organizations looking for cost-effective ways to meet ESG and net zero commitments. 

“A single one of our 36,000-liter PBRs can produce as much biomass as a one-acre raceway or pond,” said Tim Shaw, co-founder of BrightWave. “And we practically eliminate the risk of contamination and crashes.” 

Decarbonization and bioproduct capabilities that can serve critical global markets.

Perhaps the most consequential outgrowth of a cost-effective, scalable bioreactor system is what it means for the geography of commercial algae production. BrightWave’s internally illuminated bioreactor designs remove any limitation on bioreactor size. 

This flexibility opens new options far beyond algae cultivators. A manufacturing company can use a bioreactor array to capture emissions from its industrial processes (or via direct air capture), reducing airborne CO2 emissions as well as creating a new revenue stream from the marketable biomass that is produced. Alternatively, a vertically integrated global conglomerate can use the system to generate carbon credits throughout its value chain, flattening the ramp to decarbonization. 

The ability to produce high quality biofeedstock – indoors and virtually anywhere in the world – can also make supply chains more resilient in an uncertain global economy. Algae biomass has a market value that often depends on the strain that is grown, but new approaches are also turning that biomass into new materials like plastics or foams that depend less on strain and more on volume. In other cases, the algae itself can generate valuable chemicals or pharmaceuticals, which are then extracted from the biomass and marketed to customers. 

BrightWave is currently making its cultivation and decarbonization technology available for organizations seeking to reduce their climate risks, build supply chain resilience, and meet ESG goals as efficiently as possible. For more information visit:

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