Cyanotech adds astaxanthin productivity enhancement

Published: 17-Jun-2015

Onsite extraction system seeks to reduce production time and costs, and enable continued growth to meet astaxanthin demand

Cyanotech Corporation has reported that its new astaxanthin extraction system has been installed at Cyanotech's production facility at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and is in operation.

'This new component of our production system is an important step in enhancing our capability for strong growth,' said Brent Bailey, Cyanotech President and CEO. 'It should greatly reduce overall inventory cycle time as well as costs for our natural astaxanthin product, for which demand is increasing steadily.'

Astaxanthin is produced from microalgae cultivated and grown at Cyanotech's facility in Kona, Hawaii. After harvest, the microalgae biomass has been shipped to the US mainland and New Zealand where the astaxanthin has been extracted and readied for final product form before being shipped back to Hawaii. This process added several weeks to production time and significant costs.

Cyanotech's extraction system is a 1000bar (14,700psi) supercritical carbon dioxide extraction system, custom built for the company by ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions (formerly Uhde High Pressure Technologies GmbH).

It is a state-of-the-art extraction system with fewer than six other such systems in the world. The ultra-high pressure extraction will allow the company to extract astaxanthin from Haematococcus biomass without the use of organic solvents in a much shorter time compared with lower pressure systems and result in higher yields.

The extraction system has double the capacity of the company's current production to allow for sales growth, and can be expanded to enable four times current production needs. The new building covers 13,000 square feet and includes the extraction equipment with separate biomass handling and oil blending rooms, a drive-in freezer storage area and a warehouse complex.

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