NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Technology licence opportunity

Measuring Algal Growth

The invention relates to the in situ measurement and or the continuous monitoring of algae within a body of water over time.

Benefits of the CEH Algal Biosensor

Algae growth rates can be related to an increase in the nutrient status (eutrophication) of a water body. Current methods involve field sampling and laboratory analysis requiring deployment costs and potential delays in data acquisition. The prototype CEH Algal Biosensor being developed will enable the cost effective continuous monitoring of algae providing real time data.

Offer: licensing/ R&D development collaboration

The technology within the CEH Algal Biosensor has a granted patent and prototypes are currently being calibrated in the field. We are seeking interested R&D collaborators and commercialisation partners.

Technical description

The CEH Algal Biosensor prototype is housed in a watertight box. It comprises a light source; a light sensor arranged to sense light emitted from the light source; a data logger connected to the light sensor and adapted to record the intensity of the light sensed by the light sensor over a period of time; and a gap between the light source and the light sensor, within which algal growth can take place.

Development stage

The invention has benefitted from NERC innovation funding and prototypes are currently being calibrated in the field.

  • Technology Readiness Level 4/5

Potential applications

The existing prototype has been developed for the water industry, however other applications such as monitoring algal growth during the manufacture of algae cultures and the early detection of bio-fouling may be feasible.

IP rights

UK patent:  Measuring Algal Growth: GB2507158, 16th August 2013, (via IPO Green Channel).


Nicholas Corker, Innovation Manager, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology