Smart Microfarm near Olympia Washington
As one of the northern most spirulina farms in operation today, this facility demonstrates the capability of algae microfarms in cooler climates and tests practical and affordable microfarms and photobioreactors for growing algae for local food and high value products in urban, community, rooftop, mobile and vertical gardens.
Beginning in 2013, two ponds have insulating foam panels below and retractable cover above, all within a larger vegetable greenhouse to help keep algae culture water warm, increase productivity and extend the growing season beyond the summer months. This smart microfarm is monitored remotely by webcam and the daily data sent from the local operator.
In the second year of operation 2014, more web-based smart monitoring functions were automated and installed, allowing guidance of farm operations from remote locations on a laptop or mobile phone. Late spring weather was typically cool and partly cloudy, but by mid-July and August with high summer sun and heat, spirulina growing ponds achieved sustained high daily productivity (15g/m2/day on a dry weight basis).
In the third year of operation 2015, added another test cultivation pond. Introduced retail foil packages for low temperature dehydrated ‘crunchies’, dried spirulina powder and granules, and fresh frozen spirulina cups. Had fun developing new food forms including SpiruPops – fresh frozen spirulina fruit juice popsicles.