Lgem product base: B2B solutions ranging from 25 to 45.000 liters

Lgem develops risk-free, stable and reliable systems with a proven technology. The consistently high quality of our PBR’s, due to industry-best mass transfer and smart hygienic design, is rivalled only by the ease of use, thanks to the simple and hassle-free operation with smart measurement and control. Furthermore, it’s versatile, broadly applicable, proven to be effective under varying conditions and can be implemented for the cultivation and growth of any microalgae species, including the most fragile ones.

The full range of Lgem

You can read all about Lgem’s innovative product development here.  Now let’s take a look at the actual products. Of course, that means that we could also share insights into the various smart solutions that complete a given setup of Lgem photobioreactors. 

For instance, the culture harvest unit that automatically harvests and temporarily stores algae culture from the system. Or we could look at the clean water unit, that stores up to 20 m3 of clean process water. It’s automatically circulated through a loop pipeline through a UVC-unit to maintain the quality, meticulously monitored by the Microalgae Production Control Computer, so we definitely need to tell you about our MPCC too. For now, though, we would like to address the various tubular glass photobioreactor systems as a whole.

To do so, we would first like to explain a bit more about the basic principle and design concepts of our PBR’s, after which we can take a closer look at our current range of photobioreactors – from the LAB-25 tubular glass PBR to the full-scale PILOT-6600 and the ENTOS system for indoor industrial production with artificial illumination.

GemTube photobioreactors 

Lgem’s tubular photobioreactors use light, CO2 and fertilizers for the cultivation of micro-algae. Nutritional elements like nitrogen, phosphorus and micro-elements are added to the water in which the algae are cultivated. By the use of light, CO2 is converted into micro-algal biomass and oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. As a light source sunlight can be applied, but we offer – and in some situations indeed prefer – artificial (LED) light as well. 

Actually, we are increasingly moving away from sunlight as a source of light due to its inherent production uncertainties and variations. Our large industrial standard is therefore designed to convert LED light into biomass as efficiently as possible under stable optimized conditions. This results in a higher yield as well as a better product. In addition, an artificial light source provides the opportunity for a more condensed system design, reducing your spatial requirement. After all, you don’t have to prevent your system from being in the shade, as you have the freedom to place your light source where you want to have it.

Tubular PBR’s offer a relatively small layer in which the micro-algal cells are growing, so that the so-called light absorption path is small, allowing cultivation at high cell densities. Moreover, our PBR’s are closed systems, neatly protecting the culture from contaminants. 

After examining various algae production systems for many years, from plastic bags and bubble columns to PVC tubes, we’ve launched GemTube, a glass tubular helix system that offers extreme durability and a more simplified, cost-effective form of algae production. Lgem PBR’s consists of long tubular loops. Large systems can be configured by putting many tubular loops in parallel. Lgem tubular systems can therefore easily scaled-up to unit sizes up to more than 45,000 litres, which we will address later on. For now, let’s start small.


Our algae photobioreactor systems

Lgem’s tubular photobioreactors are ready to be integrated into a fully automated workflow, combining the implementation with both up- and downstream processes. Let’s take a closer look at our GemTube products, ranging from Lgem LAB-25 to our ENTOS PBR.

Lgem LAB-25 photobioreactor

The Lgem LAB-25 tubular glass PBR is especially designed for laboratory research projects and for the production of ultra-pure starter culture. High production rates and high biomass densities can be reached thanks to the 32 mm diameter tubes and excellent light intensities from the installed LED’s offering up to 500 µmol/m2/s on the tubes’ surface.

The Lgem LAB-25 can be steam-sterilized before inoculation for very clean growth. Although the steam generator is not included, these features and the high level of overall quality, such as the borosilicate glass, stainless steel frames and dimmable LED panels can normally only be found in much more expensive fermenter systems from the lab equipment industry.

Lgem LAB-275 photobioreactor

Our Lgem LAB-275 PBR is designed specifically for research projects or as an inoculation production step towards upscaling. The system comes in a stainless-steel box frame on wheels. The Lgem LAB-275 is equipped with LED panels on both sides. While the GemTube glass is again constructed from borosilicate, the circulation vessel is made from heat-tolerant PP semi translucent to allow for pasteurization with hot water (60-70°), resulting in exceptional hygiene compared to any tubular system of this size currently on the market. 

Lgem LAB-550 photobioreactor

The Lgem LAB-550 PBR is designed for a research scale-up where space is limited but more biomass is needed than can be provided with a Lgem LAB-25 or LAB-275 system. 

The system is built on a skid and is standardly fitted with 12 LED panels. Like the Lgem LAB-275 this system can be pasteurized at 60-70°C making it possible to easily switch between different algae species without the risk of cross-contamination.

Lgem PILOT-925 photobioreactor

The PILOT-925 is the first model in our PILOT-series especially designed for pilot-scale projects. The 925 consists of two skid mounted units: a tank unit and a glass tubular helix unit with borosilicate glass tubes. Both units are transportable and can easily be connected on site. The Lgem PILOT-925 can be used outside or placed in a greenhouse for illumination by natural light, but can be equipped with LED for climate rooms or warehouses. 

Lgem PILOT-1700 photobioreactor

The second model in our PILOT-series of tubular glass PBR’s is designed for pilot-scale projects as well as inoculation production for larger production units and is ideally suited for the validation of business cases. The PILOT-1700 consists of three skids: a tank unit and two glass tubular helices, but assembly after transport is just as easy and intuitive as our smaller PILOT-model and does not require training. As with the 925-model, this PBR is suited for both natural light as well as LED illumination, while the modular set-up allows for maximum flexibility if there is a need to relocate.

Lgem PILOT-3450 photobioreactor 

Our PILOT-3450 is the first model in the series that uses an Industrial set-up. This means that the PBR isn’t completely skid-based. This way it comes as a ready to set up package that fits into a 40ft container, to be installed independently or with assistance of our skilled installers. The unit has a reactor volume of 3,450 litres and has 4 separate helices and one circulation skid. This way, the operating volume of the PILOT-1700 is doubled. 

Lgem PILOT-6600 photobioreactor

The Lgem PILOT-6600 is similar to the Lgem PILOT-3450 but with 8 separate helices on one circulation skid. This system also fits in one 40ft container for transport. 

Lgem HELIOS photobioreactor 

Lgem’s third in the series of proprietary PBR’s for the production of algae is the INDUSTRIAL-line, made up of the HELIOS 25 and HELIOS 35 models. The HELIOS tubular glass photobioreactors are designed specifically for industrial production using sunlight or in combination with LED. Its photosynthetic part consists of two layers of 48 parallel borosilicate glass tubes to be assembled on site with a variation in length up to 150m long. 

The circulation part consists of one transportable skid and tanks on frames that can easily be connected to each other and to the tubular modules. The HELIOS can be delivered as a stand-alone solution with its own process computer or as a part of an integrated multi-unit production plant. The reactor volume is 25,000 litres to 35,000 litres, resulting in an operating volume of 16,000 – 31,000 litres. We have HELIOS systems with double layers or with 8 separate helices that are less compactly set up than our indoors ENTOS units. 

Lgem ENTOS photobioreactor

Our Lgem ENTOS-45 PBR system has a reactor volume of 45 m³ or 45,000 litres, as you might have guessed, resulting in an operating volume of 28,000 – 38,000 litres. 

These systems have been optimized to be used in a controlled environment with artificial light. Whereas the HELIOS consists of two horizontal layers, the ENTOS has 12 parallel, vertical glass tubular modules. The ENTOS system is designed for indoor industrial production with artificial illumination.

Further reading

Lgem is able to deliver world-wide algea solutions to any scale.