ICM-CSIC visits Universidad de Almería (UAL) facilities

Contact: Belén Benito García

On November the 24th, a team from the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona (Spain) visited the facilities of University of Almería (UAL) in Almería (Spain), where the experimental facilities for microalgal cultivation are located.

Figure 1. ICM-CSIC team upon their arrival in Almería

Two different raceway ponds, fed with wastewater and fertilizers (Fig. 2), have been sampled three times per week for the last 9 months. Samples are sent periodically to ICM-CSIC for specific chemical and molecular analyses. Researchers from both institutions discussed all the practicalities about the raceways design, functioning, algal community sampling and limitations inherent to the technology in order to optimize samplings and produce high quality datasets. The visit was very fruitful for both teams and PRODIGIO project will benefit from the exchange of knowledge from researchers with such diverse range of scientific backgrounds, from bioprocess engineering to theoretical ecology.

Figure 2. Outdoor raceways

During the second day of the visit, a meeting was held to design the new experiments that will take place from January onwards.

Figure 3. Meeting held at UAL on the 25th of November

The experiments will be carried out in bench-scale raceways where PH, light and temperature are strictly controlled and sampling can be done at a relatively high frequency.


Figure 4. Indoor raceways

Stepwise increases in temperature and acidity will be forced over time (simulating gradual warming and acidification) in two of the raceways while the others will be held unchanged. The experiments are intended to force and monitor the eventual collapse of the algal biomass production systems. The data generated will serve to understand the mechanisms underlying the failure of the systems and design early-warning signals to anticipate and mitigate these crashes.


This article has been written by Carmen García Comas, ICM-CSIC.


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About Prodigio Project

PRODIGIO is an EU-funded project that plan to establish a base of knowledge for the development of system failure prediction technologies that increase the performance of microalgae production and anaerobic digestion systems and advance towards more favourable techno-economic, environmental and social performance to achieve more sustainable microalgae biogas. The project aims to decode the triggers, identify early-warnings, define threshold values, and calculate warning times for critical state transitions in bioreactors. The technology behind the project could contribute to increasing resource and energy efficiencies >50% throughout the production chain, which would translate into OPEX savings and GHG emissions reduction. The results of the project will pave the way for moving the entire microalgae biogas production chain efficiently towards its theoretical maximum, enabling the development of a fully integrated and truly sustainable microalgae biogas production industry and contributing to strengthening the EU's leadership in renewable fuel technologies. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101007006. Visit for more information.

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IDConsortium is a consultancy firm founded in Seville, Spain, in 2009 with the aim of helping researchers and businesses to internationalise and showcase their R&D by joining international consortiums to pursue different lines of research, development, and innovation. The firm is an offshoot of IDAction S.L., a company with a wide range of experience in managing R&D, innovation, and investment projects. We help promote clusters and sectorial organizations reach their potential at a national and international level. With our experience and involvement in various international innovation projects, we provide strategic advice in the following areas: Industrial Biotechnology, Advanced production systems in Agriculture, Livestock and Aquaculture based on Industry 4.0., and Innovative systems while promoting an active, healthy, and sustainable aging. Visit for more information.