Dec 7, 2017

Swedish company is using algae shells to increase solar efficiency

Sophie Chapman
2 min
The Swedish Algae Factory are farming algae that can increase solar efficiency by 60%
The Swedish Algae Factory are farming a certain time of algae called diatoms which can be used to increase the efficiency of solar panels.

The Swedish Algae Factory are farming a certain time of algae called diatoms which can be used to increase the efficiency of solar panels.

The commercial research lab, located in Gothenburg, Sweden, discovered that the shells that algae make can be applied to panels due to their material and ability to thrive in low light.

Diatoms discovered that if they created shall out of silicon dioxide – a primary ingredient in glass – then they would photosynthesis light more efficiently, even in murky water.

The factory has managed to increase efficiency in solar panels when incorporating these glass-like shell into silicon-based panels by 4%.

However, when using the algae’s shells on dye sensitised solar cells increased efficiency by 60%.


According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, if the technology is used on 30% of the market by 2027 then global greenhouse emissions could fall by and annual amount of 21mn tonnes.

“I had such frustration that there were so many good ideas that really could benefit society that never came out on the market and ended up just being research,” commented Sofie Allert, Co-Founder and CEO of The Swedish Algae Factory.

“So there was a real gap there, and I wanted to be part of that gap."

“What we saw was that there were a lot of amazing applications, but someone needs to scale it up and actually provide this material.”

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Apr 23, 2021

Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Drax is advancing biomass following Pinnacle acquisition it reported in a trading update

Drax' recently completed acquisition of Pinnacle more than doubles its sustainable biomass production capacity and significantly reduces its cost of production, it reported in a trading update.

The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.

The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).

Drax CEO Will Gardiner said its Q1 performance had been "robust", supported by the sale of Drax Generation Enterprise, which holds four CCGT power stations, to VPI Generation.

This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.

In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.

The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.

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