Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economy (ASLEE)
Xanthella Ltd are very pleased to announce the start of a new pioneering project to bring new industry to rural areas of Scotland using renewable energy to produce high value products.
The £2M, two-year project is led by Xanthella and will be in partnership with ALIenergy, VCharge, University of the West of Scotland, FAI Aquaculture, SgurrEnergy, Woodland Renewables and the University of Stirling’s Marine Environment Research Laboratory at Machrihanish.
The ASLEE project (Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economy) has been awarded £500,000 from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund to fund the first year of feasibility studies. If this is successful then in the second year a large scale algal production facility will be built at Ardnamurchan. This will be the largest algal production facility in the UK and will help unlock the potential of locally owned renewable energy to transform the prospects of communities and industry in some of our most remote areas.
The process is ideal for matching with intermittent renewable energy generation, using the energy at times when it is abundant and cheap, and providing a valuable grid balancing service at the same time.
Project Leader Dr Douglas McKenzie, CEO at Xanthella, said: “We are delighted that our project has been chosen by the Local Energy Challenge Fund to test out what is an exciting and hugely innovative venture for us in Scotland. Scotland has massive potential for expanding its use of renewable energy but problems with our electrical grid structure mean that much of this potential cannot be used. If we had new uses for the electricity near where the renewable electricity is produced then we could remove this constraint.
“Microalgae are a hugely versatile industrial product. We already use them in local aquaculture but actually fly them in from Japan and the USA rather than manufacture them locally. This project has the potential to allow us to develop renewable production in our remote and rural areas much faster than we are currently doing and to make algal production much cheaper. All of this means more jobs and a better economy for some of the most remote and vulnerable areas in Scotland”.
The ASLEE Project Partners
Xanthella Ltd: An Argyll-based SME, Xanthella designs and manufactures equipment for algal biomanufacturing and research. It leads the ASLEE project with its Chief Executive, Dr Douglas McKenzie acting as the project’s coordinator. Xanthella are also responsible for leading the technical programme, stakeholder engagement and project legacy.
ALIenergy Ltd: Argyll, Lomond and the Islands Energy Ltd is the energy agency for Argyll and is a charity limited by guarantee, with a commitment to promote sustainable energy use and renewable energy generation, to address fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. It provides the secretariat for the project and is responsible for dissemination. www.alienergy.org.uk
Woodlands Renewables Ltd / Ardnamurchan Estate: – provides a grid constrained, rural location for the main PBR array. The estate has a track record in innovation taking advantage of technology, already having wind, hydro, biomass and wave generators on site, and plans for further development. www.ardnamurchanestate.co.uk
SgurrEnergy: leading renewable energy consultancy providing engineering and technical advisory services in onshore and offshore wind, solar, wave and tidal and hydro projects. It has been involved in community energy projects spanning its 14 year history and is currently working to develop innovative renewable energy solutions in remote communities. SgurrEnergy will provide support on integration with existing and planned renewable energy projects. www.sgurrenergy.com
University of Stirling / Marine Environmental Research Laboratory (MERL), Machrihanish: part of the Institute of Aquaculture and ranked top among UK institutions focusing on aquaculture research. MERL will provide nutritional analysis of algae, investigating the effects of light periodicity and intermittency on nutritional composition and the effects of nutrient supply in relation to fluctuations in light regime in order to optimise the nutritional quality of algal products. www.fishresearch.co.uk/facilities/merl
VCharge UK Ltd: delivers services to electric grid operators and other electricity market participants using Aggregated Transactive Load. They currently deliver grid services on six grids in five countries. VCharge will help develop the parameters within which the PBRs will be able to lower energy costs and will also design the load control interface and algorithms to actually deliver those grid services. www.vcharge-energy.com
FAI Aquaculture / Ardtoe Marine Research Facility: carries out a wide range of applied R&D projects in the area of marine aquaculture including large scale commercial culture of a wide range of microalgae species. They will test and compare the cost effective productivity and nutritional quality of a range of algal species by the PBR, focusing on its application for oyster production. www.faifarms.com/our-locations/scotland/
University of the West Scotland: UWS is a leading-edge modern university committed to accessibility and wide geographical coverage across the West of Scotland. It has significant research and knowledge-exchange expertise in business start-up, business processes, renewable energy and rural development. UWS provides the project with business strategy, financial, economic and market analysis expertise and also technical expertise in electrical and engineering technologies. www.uws.ac.uk