UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Big Algae Open Experiment at Latitude Festival

11 August 2016

The UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering had a significant presence at the Latitude Festival last month. Joe Newton and Jordan Turnbull were in the first year of their Safe & Sound initiative, and Brenda Parker took the Big Algae project along.

“James Lawrence and I have been members of Big Algae Open Experiment, funded by the OpenPlant initiative. Our project is a collaboration between UCL, Cambridge University and John Innes Centre (JIC) developing open source technologies for synthetic biology. We’re developing an open source algae bioreactor and a phone app to monitor its growth.”

We went to Latitude Festival as part of the OpenPlant stand in the Wild Science tent where we demonstrated our algae reactor, getting kids involved in measuring the algal growth and explaining how algae can be used for pigments, fuels or even to generate electricity through biophotovoltaics.

We had quite a lot of kit so we’re pleased we were able to take advantage of Joe & Jordan’s Safe & Sound enterprise to help transport some of the equipment back to UCL!

James had developed an arduino system for monitoring light and temperature within the reactor – it was great when the participants were able to experience how the system worked, what it did and how it would scale up to something bigger.” Brenda Parker

OpenPlant is a BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre, supported by the Research Councils' Synthetic Biology for Growth programme. The initiative promotes interdisciplinary exchange, open technologies for innovation and responsible innovation for sustainable agriculture and conservation. Read more about OpenPlant or find out more about the Big Algae Open Experiment.