algae plants

Phytolinc: a photobioreactor linked to land-based recirculating aquaculture system

Phytolinc develops a photobioreactor (PhytoBoX) for cultivation of microalgae. The system is linked to any existing land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).

The company

PHYTOLINC is a spin-off from the University of Cologne, Germany. The team, with a strong background in biology, aquaculture and finance, is developing an innovative photobioreactor for microalgae production. The membrane system enables highly efficient cultivation as well as the production of new algae species. PHYTOLINC develops a system for aquaculture purposes, as well as microalgae mass production. Currently, the startup is funded through a German-European startup program and is upscaling the lab scale prototype to industrial scale. PHYTOLINC aims to make microalgae production economic and ecologically sustainable to benefit from the great potential of algal products. For a feedback orientated product development, the startup is always looking for cooperation partners.

Phytolinc Pic in the text

The idea

The PhytoBoX, the photobioreactor of PHYTOLINC, will be a microalgae cultivation system that can directly be linked to any existing land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). By doing so, PHYTOLINC can recycle the available nutrients, decrease the water usage for algae cultivation significantly and hence provide a very ecological and economic cultivation technique. Aquaculture farmers will easily be able to extend their product portfolio with algal products. Due to the mixing of algae and process water current cultivation methods (suspension cultures) are unsuited for algae-aquaponic-systems. The solution to this issue is a surface-based cultivation method. Water and algae are separated through a micro membrane, such that the biomass grows directly on the layer surface. In addition to the possible integration as aquaponic-system, the technique has further advantages including:

Water and space saving      
Space saving and easily extendable thanks to a modular design     
Up to 90% less water consumption.

Optimized gas exchange     
Algae cells are directly exposed to the atmosphere, which accelerates the CO2 exchange.

Optimized lighting  
Higher growth rates, as algae cells are well exposed to the light source.   

Expansion of the algae portfolio    
Restriction of water movements enables the cultivation of high value algae species e.g. sessile algae species as dinoflagellates that are likely to increase the growth and survival rates of marine organisms.

We benefit from the established ALLIANCE network in the field of aquaculture and enjoy the expertise in microalgae production.”

  • Case owner quote

    Arne Maercker


The allies

Being a partner of the ALLIANCE since 2018, PHYTOLINC has already established valuable contacts to aquaculture companies. The team is actively supported by the mentors BioCon Valley and Lars Jørgensen from the Danish Technology Institute (DTI). With their profound background in microalgae production as well as their broad network, PHYTOLINC is happy to take advantage of their expertise.

The main goal of the cooperation between the ALLIANCE and PHYTOLINC is to set up a first pilot production system during the program.