Manufacturer MBD making waste useful with algal technology

James Cook University and MBD Energy have been collaborating on bio-manufacturing techniques that can make algae both a feedstock for prawns and an industrial waste treatment solution.

MBD has started working with JCU Townsville marine biologists to produce algae for prawns.

"Growing and converting algae into fuel and feed stocks is a key technology for Australia in helping to revitalise the manufacturing sector," said Bruce Grey, the managing director of the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, told the Townsville Bulletin.

According to its website, MBD’s technologies can turn certain types of waste contaminated with chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous, “to produce various forms of algal biomass suited to production of animal feed and high value human foods and additives.”

"With the research leadership of James Cook University and the key work of (commercial partner) MBD Energy, Townsville is well positioned for the next phase of advanced manufacturing growth," said Grey.

MBD’s CEO Andrew Lawson said the company had just started selling feed to a prawn farm in Ayr and was exporting treated water waste products to Japan.

"It is creating new exciting manufacturing businesses for the future," he said.

MBD has been collaborating with the university since 2008. The partnership has also developed methods of treating waste, itself a billion-dollar industry, says the company, and of sequestering carbon emissions using certain strains of algae.