The Algae Trials

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The Algae Trials

Release status: obsolete [box doku]

Description A series of experiments with algae
Author(s)  Severin

What can we do with algae? Supposedly, algae is a super food, can be used as biofuel, and even be made into yoga mats. Let's give it a shot.

Growing Algae

First series of experiments: how easy is it to grow algelae, and what's the best way to do it?

Getting algae

Mostly, algae seems to be sold as "super food", in a dried und thus pretty dead condition. Getting alive algae was a bit harder, but there are some aquaristic shops in Germany that sell live algae. I decided to use Chlorella algae for this experiment. It seems to be a fatty algae, which is nice since I wanted to try and use it to make biodiesel. It's also a fresh water algae, and happened to be the only fresh water algae the shop I bought it at was selling.

I bought 500ml of "algae", and started the experiments.

Experiment 1: does it grow at all?


  • 500ml algae
  • 500ml water
  • 1 1l transparent glass wine bottle


  • Aug 28, afternoon: fill algae and water into bottle. Shake. Placed in a somewhat bright spot inside
  • next few days: shake regularly
  • Aug 31, afternoon: there's some algae floating around the bottle, more than before. So the algae seems to grow. Also, there seems to be enough to do some more experiments.

Experiment 2: how does air help the growing process?


  • 1l algae water from exp. 1
  • 1l water
  • 2 1l bottles
  • small air stone
  • aquarium air pump


  • Aug 31, afternoon: put the same amounts of water and algae into the bottles. Put the air stone connected to the airpump into one of the bottles and turn it on.
  • Sep 1, afternoon: feeding. Having not tried this before was probably a bad idea, but let's give a shot. I bought a small pipette (one for a 10ml bottle), and gave two fillings of normal plant fertilizer into each bottle.
  • Roughly a week later: The algae with the airstone in it seems to have not grown as much as the one without it. We need to repeat this eventually.

Experiment 3: Produce a lot of algae


  • Algae water from the previous experiments
  • Algae reactor
  • Light
  • Pump


  • Built the algae reactor in a few iterations
  • Run the algae reactor for a long time: [1]
  • Frequently get the algae out into different bottles and refill the reactor with water and nutrients