OriginOil and Algasol Renewables to Develop an Integrated Algae Growth and Harvesting System
While the race to make algae a viable source of energy is still anyone's game, two players have bundled their technologies with the hope that the cultivation and harvesting of micro algae can reach a tipping point and compete with petroleum.
OriginOil, a developer of technology to convert algae into renewable crude oil, and Algasol Renewables, owners of patented low-cost cultivation process, announced today their plans to work together with NASA and Lawrence Berkley.
NASA, with the establishment of the Ames Research Center, has recently turned some of its assets to our own planet to develop clean technologies and mitigate climate change. They developed an algae bioreactor back in 2009 and have been working with the private sector since then to improve the cultivation process.
|NASA’s OMEGA system consists of large flexible plastic tubes floating in seawater with freshwater algae growing in wastewater. The algae use energy from the sun, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the wastewater to produce biomass that can be converted into biofuels as well as other useful products such as fertilizer and animal food.Image credit: NASA Ames / Dominic Hart
Algasol takes cultivation out of the lab.
Algasol’s floating bags or photobioreactors (PBRs) can operate in the ocean or in salt water ponds on land. Because they float, Algasol believes their PBRs achieve optimal light exposure with outstanding productivity results and avoid the high temperature and excess salinity often encountered in solar growth systems. Algasol has received a patent in 70 countries for its unique method of floating bags using relative water density.
“Algasol’s patented system focuses on how to grow algae in floating bags, and their testing has indicated this can be much more efficient than other cultivation methods,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil’s CEO. “Now with NASA and Lawrence Berkley working with Algasol, we are excited and eager to contribute our own breakthrough harvesting system to help us collectively achieve a cost breakthrough in the race to compete with petroleum.”
Algasol recently entered into a partnership with NASA and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. They are also working with Arizona State University (ASU) and the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI).
“With customer demand for an integrated algae production process rising, we need to offer our customers a means of harvesting as well,” said Miguel Verhein, executive director of Algasol Renewables. “We plan to recommend OriginOil’s field-proven, chemical-free, high flow and low-energy harvesting system, and once available, the integrated biocrude system they are developing with the Department of Energy.”
OriginOil is working with the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to implement a downstream fuel conversion process which it plans to offer as part of the Algasol-OriginOil bundle.