The microalgae Spirulina is considered a healthy food that contains all of the amino acids, omega 3 and is a complete protein. Its growing rates are very fast because, like all photosynthetic monocellular organisms and unlike more complex green organisms, close to 100% of its cells participate in the growing process. The LillyBots are a series of small scale photobioreactors to grow edible microalgae like Spirulina in domestic environment.
MiniLilly is the smallest photobioreactor we ever made with its 2,5 liters in a frame of 30x12x50(h) cm. It’s conceived to be easy to mount, easy to use, easy to customise, and affordable for everybody. It’s dedicated to bio-geeks that are willing to start culturing algae in a domestic environment with a good-looking system.
It works on the principle of a closed loop water fall with a container tank at the bottom of the acrylic frame, a pump, and additional electronics for control. The microalgae solution is pumped up from the tank to the top of the frame, where it begins its descent through a series of sloping planes that create a number of little waterfalls to enhance the microalgae gas exchange with air. At the end of the fall, the solution goes back to the tank and is ready for another loop.
The frame is cut out of 2 60×90 cm sheets of 3mm acrylic. We designed a special MiniLilly shield for Arduino to control air temperature, water temperature, and light.
Design & tech: Cesare Griffa with Matteo Amela and Nikolaos Argyros