Profits in Spirulina Powder Production (Cost to Start)

Profits in spirulina powder production business

Hello friends, today let us discuss the mass cultivation of spirulina in India. This blog provides you all the details about spirulina cultivation in India. Before starting the business you need to design a perfect spirulina business plan. Now let us see how much money you can make and profits in the spirulina powder production business.

A guide to starting and make profits in spirulina powder production

Spirulina is a variety of bacteria known as cyanobacteria generally known as blue-green algae that develop both in fresh and in saltwater. Similar to plants it yields energy using sunlight by photosynthesis. It grows and grows well in warm water alkaline ponds as well as in rivers. Protein is one of the significant components of any diet. Spirulina is one of the finest and potential sources of protein. This protein in spirulina is grown commercially for large-scale purposes in culture systems for human as well as animal consumption.

About spirulina

Spirulina comprises 40-80% protein content and its growth rate is high. For its growth, it needs less water, area, and can develop in any climate in tropical areas. In commercial aquacultures like that of prawn, fish, and livestock; spirulina can be used in wet or dried form as a complementary dietary ingredient. Spirulina is unicellular and filamentous blue-green algae coiled in spirals of variable tightness and numbers measuring around 0.1 mm. In surroundings with adequate minerals, it grows fast with a low nucleic acid content, high nutrient content, high concentrations of vitamins, and minerals. In developing regions, it is used as a potential source of feed, food, and fuel. For human nutrition, it is grown on a large scale in clean waters and under controlled situations but it is also grown in wastewaters and can be consumed as animal feed. This article will also have cost and profit details at the bottom of the spirulina farming project planSpirulina farming business is one of the most profitable businesses in India, where you can earn good profits every year every month.

License, registration required for spirulina production business

Below is the list of licenses required for the spirulina production business in India. 

  • First, you need to apply for FSSAI registration as it is a food-related business;
  • Obtaining trade license;
  • Apply for MSME Udyog Aadhaar online registration for your business;
  • Get GST number, as it is compulsory for any type of business;
  • It would be better if you get ‘NOC’ from your State Pollution Control Board;
  • SSI registration for availing subsidies;
  • You have to apply for BIS certification for ISI Mark and standards;
  • Get VAT registration and also get the information on whether it is required or not.
  • Finally, you have to get your brand name protected through Trademark registration.

Growing conditions of spirulina

Climate: Spirulina while growing for commercial and large-scale production must be done in regions with appropriate climatic conditions. Tropical and sub-tropical regions are particularly specific places for their growth. It needs sunshine all along the year. The growth rate and production of spirulina are based on various aspects such as wind, temperature fluctuation, rain, and solar radiation.

Temperature: For a large production with a high protein component, a temperature around 30°-35° C is perfect. Spirulina can live in temperatures around 22° to 38° C but the protein content and color will be altered. Bleaching of cultures takes place when temperatures are greater than 35° C and it cannot live in temperatures below 20° C.

Light: The intensity of light is very much significant for its growth. Light has a direct impact on protein content, its growth rate, and even pigment synthesis of spirulina. The light intensity of around 20 – 30 K lux is found to be perfect for Spirulina farming. It is witnessed that under 2 K lux for 10 hours duration by providing altered light shades; and under the blue light, it produced the highest protein content. Yellow, red, white, and the green light was the next levels of the protein generated.

Stirring: Spirulina majorly requires exposure to light, being a photosynthesizing organism. Light is usually maximum on top so that spirulina which is on top of the culture will thrive well while the ones in the lower region have a slow growth rate and the spirulina which thrives below may die. For maximum production and appropriate growth rate of each organism that culture has to be agitated continually. This aids all organisms reach the top of the culture and even it helps in uniform photosynthesis. Agitation can be done manually as well as by machines. Pump and paddle wheels can be equipped and can be driven by solar. Maximum care must be taken during manual stirring which can be done using a stick or any other suitable thing. Agitation must be done in a slow circular manner in a single direction. Manual stirring is accepted every 2-3 hours during the day particularly. After every stirring, the instruments are properly cleaned before.

Water Quality: In commercial spirulina farming, it is obligatory to recreate a close culture medium wherein blue-green algae grows naturally. Water is the chief source medium for spirulina growth. It must have all the essential sources of nutrition for the strong growth of spirulina. The ideal water quality must be continued throughout the micro-algae mass production by providing a controlled salt solution in the water. The ideal pH value culture medium must be between 8 – 11 ranges. The water level in tanks or pits must be controlled. The water level is significant for the photosynthesis process to take place in all organisms. If the water level is more, sunlight permeation will be reduced, which will disturb algae growth. A minimum depth of around 20 cm is the perfect water level height. The chemical composition of the culture medium is summarised below:

  • Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate 8.0 gm/L
  • Sodium Chloride 1.0 gm/L
  • Potassium Nitrate 2.0 gm/L
  • Hydrous Magnesium Sulphate 0.16 gm/L
  • Ammonium Phosphate 0.2 gm/L
  • Urea 0.015 gm/L
  • SulfateHeptahydrate 0.005 gm/L
  • Iron Potassium Sulphate 1.0 gm/L
  • Calcium Chloride Dihydrate 0.1 gm/L
  • Ammonium Cyanate 0.009 gm/L

Contamination: Contamination of culture medium will directly affect the production of spirulina. The contamination can occur either by foreign algae, insect breeding or through chemical contaminants. Any quantity of chlorine present in the water will destroy the algae growth. It will thus give a complete loss while spirulina production. Usually, the mosquito larvae and other insects feed on algae that will cause around 10% decrease in production. Even during the time of harvesting, the existence of larva or pupae will pollute the spirulina yield as well as quality. All extraneous materials can be detached from the culture medium with the help of a fine wire mesh frame.

Spirulina cultivation and production

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Spirulina Powder Production.
Spirulina Powder Production.

Natural Habitat: Spirulina is one among numerous algal species found growing in freshwaters. They are also initiated in natural habitats like seawater, soil marshes, and brackish waters where there are alkaline waters. They grow well in extremely alkaline waters with a great level of solar radiation where no other microorganisms could be grown. They can also stand low temperatures even like 15° C during nights and about 40° C for some hours in the daytime. In natural habitats, their growth cycles are based on the restricted supply of nutrients. When new nutrients from the various rivers or from by pollution reach the water bodies, the algae quickly grows and upsurge its population to the maximum density. When nutrients are complete, the spirulina dies off getting down to the bottom and then gets decomposed liberating nutrients into the water. A new spirulina cycle starts when more nutrients flow into the lake.

Commercial and mass cultivation: During the early 1960s, Japan initiated large-scale culture cultivation of microalgae of chlorella and then to Spirulina since 1970. In the present day. Spirulina cultivated commercially is done on a large-scale in more than 22 countries.

Ponds: Commercial cultivation is usually done in shallow artificial ponds along with mechanical paddle wheels for agitating the culture. The cultivation is done out in two methods. 1. Concrete ponds and 2. Pits lined with PVC or other plastic sheets. Concrete ponds can stand for very long mass cultivation, but it is very costly. The charges of production in the early period will be more. Low-cost clay sealing with durable plastic sheets will not stand for many periods, and even add up investment at regular periods when the materials begin to wear and tear. Concrete ponds will be more economical in the spirulina business since the beginning and low-investment structures will be costly in the business over the years. Ponds may be of any size and shape subject to the physical space and its dimensions. Construction of single or multiple ponds is possible with each pond size of 50 m long, 2-3 m wide, and with 20 to 30 cm depth are perfect pond conditions. While checking the length of the ponds they can be of any length based on space availability. Covering each pond with see-through polythene covers will aid decrease water evaporation, increase the temperature, and helps decrease the chances of contamination.

Mixing Devices: There are two processes for mixing the culture consistently and they are manual mixing of the culture and mixing the culture using spirulina cultivation equipment. Hand tools, for instance, long sticks, or broomsticks, or any convenient devices may be used. Commonly used mechanical devices such as paddlewheels are installed for stirring the culture. Paddlewheels are installed based on pond size. A large paddle wheel with a diameter of about two meters must rotate at 10 rpm speed. A small paddle wheel of diameter about 0.7 meters can rotate at 25 rpm speed for appropriate culture stirring.

Spirulina cultivation process: Cultivation can be started after water is fed into each concrete pond at an essential height and after paddle wheels are connected. The water has to have the proper pH value and alkaline by including required salts at the needed rate. Once the water has a standard micronutrient composition, the pond is prepared for spirulina seeding. Preferably, for uniform growth and the constant harvesting, 30 grams of dry Spirulina is fed for every 10 liters of water. A concentrated live spirulina culture may be used for seeding the pond. In commercial farms, one pond is entirely kept for rearing spirulina as seed. This will decrease the regular purchase and the farm becomes self-sustain and also you can sell live spirulina seed for various other farmers. The algae bacterium begins to double in biomass in 3-5 days.

The alga thrives developing by consuming the nutrients in the culture medium. Farmers must repeatedly check the nutrient content value and should add freshwater during regular periods for good production and top yields. Farmers must be alert to control environmental conditions as it avoids the culture medium from impurity. Cultures grow fast as well as die rapidly if spirulina cultures are not properly taken care of. The mature spirulina changes from light to dark green. The concentration of algae and the color of the algae is the determining factor to know about the time when spirulina should be harvested. The other way is by using the Secchi desk to measure that must be around 0.5 grams per liter of culture medium.

The water level in the pond must be maintained at 20 -30 cm (25 cm is perfect water level height). As many of the ponds are open, the evaporation of water will impact the cultivation. Specifically, in summer, for an estimated thrice in a month, freshwater is added into the ponds to uphold consistent (25 cm) water level height during the cultivation.

Harvesting of Spirulina

Filtering of culture medium: As said before, the concentration of algae in the pond will be the determining factor for harvesting. Generally, the pond will be arranged for harvest after 5 days after the seeding process is complete. Different farmers use various methods to harvest spirulina, which depends on material resources and finance. Filtration is done to harvest Spirulina. Culture is collected in a vessel and poured onto the cloth. The culture medium then flows back into the pond, separating spirulina on the cloth. After filtering, the collected Spirulina is carefully washed in distilled water to eliminate any traces of contaminants, salts, or culture medium residue. Once the cleaning is complete, the water content is further taken out by pressing or squeezing and is then ready for drying. Fresh spirulina cannot be there for greater than 2 days, hence it should be dried to preserve its nutritional values and for lasting it for a longer period.

Drying of fresh spirulina: Spirulina, when dried, will get stored for many months, and also the nutritional content will be preserved. For rapid drying, the spirulina mass is preserved inside the kitchen press grater and then pressed into thin strands on a long clean cloth in the sun. The kitchen press comes with varied discs of different hole sizes in it. Use the disc that is comfortable and which will aid in fast drying. The spirulina mass is then squeezed into thin strands by machines which are used for basically for noodles and are then placed in the open sunlight for drying. Some farmers apply the spirulina mass into a thin layer using a knife over the cloth. Whatever ways or materials are used, shortening the drying period will reduce contamination. Ovens that run on electricity or solar power may be employed for speed drying. The temperature in the oven when maintained at 60° C will take around 4 fours while at 40° C it will take about 15 -16 hours for drying of spirulina.

Grinding and storage: The well-dried strands of spirulina are now prepared for grinding. Grinding machines for flour making are meant for grounding the dried algae. Spirulina is grounded and converted into soft powder dust that is packed with diverse weights and then sealed for marketing. Vacuum dried and airtight packing will store the nutritional potentials up to about 3-4 years.

The cost or investment to start a spirulina powder business

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The cost to start a spirulina powder business.
The cost to start a spirulina powder business.

The spirulina project plan is to summarise the investment and revenues for an idea to entrepreneurs and the figures mentioned are not actuals but for business consideration. Each pond built is of around 10 x 20 feet size. And there are around 20 such ponds. Each pond will produce an average of about 2 kg of wet culture for a day. The spirulina yield per liter is calculated based on the formula. The spirulina production cost includes the following:

Pond construction Rs. 3,00,000

Plant machinery Rs. 15,000

Laboratory equipment Rs. 60,000

Water treatment plant Rs. 1,50,000

Piping work Rs. 25,000

Electrical works Rs. 15,000

Drying Screens Rs. 10,000

Harvesting Screens Rs. 60,000

Packing Materials Rs. 10,000

Chemicals (per year) Rs. 24,000

Labor charges Rs. 2,16,000

Miscellaneous charges Rs. 30,000

Operational costs Rs. 3,00,000

Total costs for starting a spirulina production business is Rs. 12,15,000

Profits in spirulina powder production

The farmer has to know the actual equation that about a kg wet culture will give 100 grams of dry powder only. On this basis, on an average, a 20 tank spirulina farming business will produce 4-5 kg of dry spirulina powder daily. The production of spirulina for a month will be around 100 to 130 kg. Dry spirulina powder in the market will give about Rs. 600/- per kg. A farmer can gain about 40,000 to 45,000/- per month. A farmer can decrease his fixed investment by opting for earth pits covered with durable plastic sheets which can be around Rs. 3 to 4.5 lakhs. A farmer can make more gains by increasing tanks made of low-cost, durable materials other than concrete ponds by use of maximum space offered in the land, which will decrease labor and capital with more returns. Readers should note that the profits in spirulina powder production may differ from region to region, and also depends on many factors.

Spirulina cultivation training

Spirulina cultivation training is not rocket science to learn about. The learning period does not need many days, it’s a short learning process that could be accomplished in a few days. Though the training is less, it is very significant to have good training for being successful. The spirulina production plant should well-understood before starting its construction. Proper training will let you have a standard yield with high profits and without losing any money because of silly mistakes that were done by a few people who started carelessly without any proper training. You also need to understand properly about the spirulina cultivation problems.

Conclusion

One can easily make great profits in spirulina powder production with a proper spirulina business plan. If you grow spirulina commercially you can reduce input costs and increase profits in the production of spirulina powder business. In case if you are interested in this: Growing Spirulina at Home.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Though I am very much interested to go with this business over my 3-acre land, face financial problem for the initial set up .What are the sources can be generated to move forward?

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