2022 | Netherlands | Water issue adressed: Too little

The Green Gold vs. Salt: taking the first step to sustainable desalination by using halophilic algae

Algae have shown they are all-round problem solvers; they can be used as food, biofuel and a clean air source. The research ‘The Green Gold vs. Salt’ explored whether halophilic algae can selectively absorb sodium from the wastewater of the greenhouse horticulture, in order to make this sector 100% circular.

After conducting the experiment, analyzing algae-growth and microscopic examinations, the outcome of our experiment is rather positive. On one hand, algae are not suitable as a desalination method for the greenhouse horticulture. This is because the algae only absorb sodium when the salinity of the water is substantially higher.

On the other hand, this result does offer perspective for a promising future with algae as a desalination method for sodium rich water such as seawater. Using algae will substantially reduce the ecological footprint and financial costs of desalination and as a result the process will become more sustainable and a better contribution to our earth’s future. In other words: this green gold defeats the salt!

This is how I came up with the idea for this project:

Algae are pretty cool; we can eat them, use them for energy and, quite literally, not live without them, because they are the main oxygen-supplier of earth. Since they already offer a solution to so many problems, we thought: ‘what else could they do?’ The answer: help us solve water-scarcity.

Ania Andersch
Programme manager
+46 8 121 360 59


The Green Gold vs. Salt Taking the first step to sustainable desalination by using halophilic algae