Grow Energy manufactures advanced light utilization and photobioreactor systems to produce algal biomass - energy and resource production are secondary to the algae growth process. Yet biomass has potential in many markets and is currently used today in various fields of research, industrial and agricultural processes, and it's even used for medical applications. We make our growth technology components readily available to researchers and businesses to pursue their projects and ventures, while also dedicating a division of our company to investigating biomass industries of our own. Grow, working with our partners, is developing algal bioconcentration methods, animal feed production facilities, artificial rainforests and renewable space-habitats.
Algae cultures are living factories that output resources for many potential uses. Carbon dioxide, dirty water, natural nutrients and sunlight enable algae to grow and multiply. The resulting algal biomass is harvested and its oil content is separated, creating algal oil. Algal oil can be used to produce biodiesel to fuel vehicles, commercial and industrial equipment, and even sea ships. The remaining biomass can be used to produce gasoline for vehicles and aircraft, or recycled as animal feed.
Algae fuel (or algal biofuel) is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source of natural deposits. Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable. Harvested algae, like fossil fuel, releases carbon dioxide when burnt, but unlike fossil fuel, the carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere by the growing of algae and other biofuel sources. The energy crisis and the world food crisis have ignited interest in algaculture (farming algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol, and other biofuels, using land that is not suitable for agriculture.
Grow Energy is discovering ways to synthesize compounds, primarily metals, from saltwater. It was recently discovered that certain bacteria strains are capable of concentrating and producing gold by consuming the nutrients naturally present in seawater. Recognizing the value of this process, our science team has begun to investigate blending the genetic characteristics of these bacterial strains with microalgae cultures. Eventually, it may be possible to "grow" gold and other metal compounds from fields of algae placed in the Earth's oceans. Our algal bioconcentration methods may also be able to be modified to specifically cleanse water of toxic pollutants and foreign materials.
Despite Verde and Hydral being designed for individual properties, there is value in industrial-scale biomass (and possibly energy) production facilities. Grow Energy is capable of designing custom biomass production centers for governments and businesses to aid in the availability of resources to civilians, as well as standalone centers for military, research, or otherwise isolated installations. In addition, in partnership with Segal Industries, Grow Energy is developing a humanitarian-oriented model for what can be described as "artificial rainforests" - large, automated biomass production facilities designed for the developing world, which mimic the carbon-absorbing benefits of natural rainforests.
Our Artificial Rainforest project is potentially a solution to reverse the effects of global climate change. By building biomass production facilities throughout the world, on non-agricultural land such as deserts, we believe we could replace all of the destroyed natural rainforests to date, in terms of carbon-dioxide consumption. By removing the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, the process of global warming could be reversed, despite society's current production of carbon emissions. These facilities also serve to encourage socioeconomic development in remote areas, providing a reliable source for energy and basic food supply.
In studying and manipulating microalgae, researchers have discovered uses for algae that extend into the medical field. A recent example of this would be the use of microalgae to test and observe the process of stimulating the brain. Scientists used algae to inhibit light paths reaching the brain to understand how the brain's neurons send and receive data through light-transmission. Algal bacteria strains also serve as bases for several antibiotic treatments and vaccines.
A single-celled, water-grown micro-algae, chlorella is widely known as a powerful "superfood" supplement with extraordinary nutrient density. It is believed to have been around for eons. One of the few edible species of water-grown algae, chlorella is full of chlorophyll. It contains all of the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, amino acids, magnesium, iron, trace minerals, carbohydrates and a higher amount of protein (more than 50%) than meat, per grams of weight.
Because they contain carbohydrates, proteins and vegetable oils, in particular omega-3 fatty acids, microalgae have great potential to provide sustainable animal feeds. They also contain important micronutrients and vitamins, as well as valuable pigments used in animal feeds, such as beta carotene, lutein and astaxanthin.
As a result, algae have emerged as exciting sources for higher-value, specialty animal feed. Algae have been used as a source of feed in aquaculture operations for decades, including as feed for fish and shellfish like clams, oysters, mussels and scallops.
The use of algae for many applications today makes it an interesting resource for future developments and technology. In the future, it may be possible to use algae to terraform alien planets, to make them habitable for human settlement. Space stations and deep-space vessels could be designed as self-contained biospheres, where algae cultures serve to cleanse the habitat environment of carbon dioxide and replace it with oxygen, while also generating a sustainable food supply.