multiple acrylic tubes filled with cultivated micro-algae

© Algicel

ACRYLITE® acrylic tubes for microalgae cultivation

Microalgae produce valuable biomass more efficiently than any land plant. Since these little all-rounders primarily require plenty of even light to do their job, the algae grower Algicel relies on transparent ACRYLITE® tubes.

Microalgae are used in a variety of ways: In dietary supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and even in energy generation. Researchers are constantly discovering new applications for these miracle plants.

The founders of the Portuguese company Algicel discovered a high concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin in the microalgae in their native Azores, more precisely on the island of São Miguel. Antioxidants protect not only the skin’s cell structure, but also the whole body against oxidative stress and aging symptoms as well as inflammation.

Since 2007, the company has been researching a way to produce the health-promoting substance astaxanthin from the microalgae growing in their natural environment on the Azores. After all, the climate and pure inland waters of the islands are ideal for this type of microalgae. In the summer of 2019, the company started the industrial cultivation of the Haematococcus pluvialis species of microalgae based on the technology that was developed in house.

To produce the microalgae for the mass market, the company first had to create an environment similar to that of the inland water bodies of the Azores. Algicel opted for so-called photobioreactors made of ACRYLITE tubes. The extruded acrylic tubes are UV permeable across the entire spectrum of sun rays and provides 92 percent light transmission, offering optimum conditions for the microalgae. Along with nutrients, water and carbon dioxide from the air, algae primarily require plenty of even light to grow, making the ACRYLITE acrylic tubes an excellent choice to cultivate the microalgae.

“ACRYLITE acrylic is one of the most transparent materials available today. There is virtually no absorption of visible light in the material,” said Janina Rossmann, product manager at Roehm. “And the transparency of the tubes remains unchanged for decades: ACRYLITE has UV protection inherent to the material. This prevents yellowing and thus the loss of transparency. ACRYLITE colorless tubes are backed by a 10-year warranty.”

Thanks to these properties, the microalgae now grow under nearly natural conditions and reach their maximum number within just 30 days. Harvesting takes place by centrifugation of the water/microalgae mix. “The absolute roundness of the tubes means that there are no edges that could cause trouble,” Rossmann explains.

Then, the harvest cycle begins again. The more than 1,000 six-foot high tubes must be rinsed and refilled with every cycle. The smooth, non-porous inner walls ensure that no bacteria or microorganisms remain stuck to the walls. This keeps the ACRYLITE tubes clean during the entire cultivation — thereby contributing to an efficient and sustainable biomass production.

red and yellow toboggans
UHMW toboggans from Maljohn bring joy for decades
More than 30 years ago, Maljohn Plastics Company Limited wanted to create a holiday gift for customers and suppliers to show their appreciation. They wanted this gift to be a year-long positive reminder — whether hanging in the garage or being used as a fun recreational item in winter. From this idea the custom-made Maljohn Toboggan was born.

The design involves laminating together multiple assorted colored strips of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) to create a safe, durable, attractive, fun item that is sure to delight anyone using it. The material’s low coefficient of friction makes the sleds fast. “They go like crazy” and will go much farther than the standard toboggan. Safety is a priority for the company, so they inform customers of the speed and attach labels to each toboggan, showing they are not to be used on hills that lead to a lake, river, road, railroads and other unsafe areas. These sleds typically last for decades. There are customers and friends whose received the Maljohn Toboggans 30+ years ago, whose grandchildren are now enjoying the thrill of winter with them.

One of their suppliers, Roechling Engineered Plastics generously donated enough material to produce hundreds of sleds. For the past two years, Maljohn Company has sold these toboggans to fundraise for charities that are close to company founder Malcolm Johnson’s heart, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Childhood Cancer, with 100 percent of the funds raised being donated. “Being able to bring joy to the lives of others is our purpose. It lifts my spirits,” said Johnson.

red valve handle
Asahi/America butterfly valve helps aquaculture farm
Abalone is considered a seafood delicacy in many countries. When raised on an aquaculture farm, they receive a constant supply of pure, cold, nutrient-rich seawater they require via life support systems consisting of valves and long runs of pipe. The valves are used for shut-off purposes for the abalone’s holding tanks, life support filtering beds and the associated feeding pipelines. Properly working valves and pipelines are crucial for survival in a life support system. Contaminants from corrosion in a farm’s life support system can be detrimental to the growing abalone. One aquaculture farm solved corrosion problems in their feed lines by replacing their existing metallic valves with Asahi/America’s Type-57LIS butterfly valves.

While abalone may thrive in saltwater, it’s a harsh environment for metallic valves. A western U.S. aquaculture farm was experiencing widespread issues in their pipelines due to corrosion. The metallic butterfly valves were seizing, their stems shearing and handles and discs breaking. Rust particles were traveling in the pipelines, causing contamination and blockages in the saltwater feed lines.

Asahi/America’s Type-57LIS butterfly valve was the ideal solution for replacing the corroded metallic butterfly valves because both valves have identical face-to-face dimensions. Installing the Type-57LIS in place of metallic valves can be done without any modification to the existing piping system. The abalone farm originally installed a 6″ PVC/ EPDM Type-57LIS butterfly valve to test the durability of the valves. After six months, they were pleased with the functionality and corrosion resistance of the valve in their tank application.

With the results they experienced during the test period, the abalone farm purchased nearly 70 6″ and 8″ Type-57LIS butterfly valves to replace all the corroded metallic butterfly valves throughout the farm. This decision was based on the ability to directly replace the valves without shutting down the facility and no rework required on the existing pipelines.

The farm has since retrofitted nearly a third of the Asahi butterfly valves with pneumatic actuators to ease operation at the facility, which will aid in their efforts to upgrade and expand production for their worldwide customer base.

The Type-57LIS butterfly valve is well suited for a wide variety of life support applications. The Type-57LIS butterfly valve conforms to ISO-5752 short pattern face-to-face dimensions. This allows the Type-57LIS to directly replace metal valves conforming to the same standard. Available in ANSI B16.5 wafer or ANSI lug models with 316 stainless steel drop-in lug inserts. The Type-57LIS butterfly valve can be pneumatically or electrically actuated.

birds eye view of a factory
World’s largest bio-factory requires reliable materials
Ever since Arkema announced its newest and largest plant investment, careful thought and planning went into the plant’s engineering and design. Located in Singapore, this new plant will be the world’s largest bio-factory for Rilsan® polyamide 11 materials. Derived 100 percent from renewable castor beans, polyamide 11 is widely used for its outstanding impact, durability and chemical resistance. Its extensive use across a variety of industries including sports, consumer electronics and automotive parts has led Arkema to increase its capacity by constructing the world’s largest bio-factory.

When designing the new plant, Arkema engineers knew that Kynar® PVDF piping systems would provide the maximum longevity and reliability, especially in challenging chemical environments. Kynar PVDF has a long history of being used in piping systems for acidic and halogen environments, both of which are used in the new Singapore plant. Supplied by SIMONA, these piping systems provided the chemical resistance, high temperature capabilities and low permeation needed to withstand such aggressive environments. Arkema is proud to not only continue to manufacture its high-performance materials but also stand by their product line for some of the world’s most extreme environments.

a TimberTech sign that reads "Zero Waste, Better Planet"
Vycom contributes to first “Zero Waste to Landfill” tournament
Entering its second year, the TimberTech® Championship was seeking a way to become even more sustainable. In 2020, the event generated 4.1 million pounds of recycled material. Aligning with one of The AZEK Company’s core values, the company continually asks, “How can we be better today than yesterday?” For the 2021 tournament held in Boca Raton, FL, USA, AZEK committed to it being the first tournament in PGA Tour Champions history to be a “Zero Waste to Landfill” event.

One way The AZEK Company — the event sponsor and an affiliate of Vycom — accomplished this goal was to use Vycom materials for the event’s wayfinding, signage and entertainment elements. Vycom polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) performance plastic materials can be returned to company recycling facilities and used to manufacture The AZEK Company’s residential and commercial products, ensuring they do not end up in landfills.

Vycom provided TimberLineTM high density polyethylene (HDPE) sheets and Celtec® and StreamLiteTM PVC sheets in various thicknesses to Think Patented of Miamisburg, OH, USA, which created signage and the games for the spectator area designed as a casual and fun “TimberTech Backyard.” Among the elements produced were wayfinding and informational signs, an oversized chessboard with printed panels alternating with unprinted panels, a large Jenga®-style game, cornhole boards and a decorative backwall panel featuring a dimensional logo for sponsor Meomi. Think Patented used an HP UV flatbed printer to create the graphics and a Kongsberg flatbed cutter for trimming.

Large lawn chess set
Once the tournament concluded, the Vycom materials were returned to the company for recycling. But repurposing these materials was not the only element in accomplishing the zero-waste objective. The TimberTech team — in partnership with Sustainable Solutions Corporation — developed a comprehensive event waste management plan identifying streams that could be repurposed, recycled, composted, donated and/or re-used. Local support came from Boca Raton partners such as the Solid Waste Authority and Coastal Waste & Recycling while The AZEK Company’s FULL-CIRCLE Green Team of volunteers helped to achieve this goal.

Spectators attending the event were encouraged to donate plastic bags resulting in approximately 5,000 bags collected during the tournament. These recycled materials are used to create TimberTech composite decking. Other initiatives included ensuring food waste and associated service items were composted, which returns organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

“No waste was sent to area landfills,” said Amanda Cimaglia, vice president of ESG and corporate affairs for The AZEK Company. “We spent several months designing waste out of the event and then finding ways to repurpose, recycle, reuse, donate or compost.” One hundred percent of used materials (signage and graphics, plastic bags, food and service items, etc.) were diverted from landfills: 49 percent were recycled, 30 percent were converted to energy sources, 16 percent were donated and 5 percent were composted.