A Wisconsin biogas facility is about to get into another green business: algae.
Canadian company, Solutions4CO2 has just inked a deal to bring its proprietary Integrated Biogas Refinery (IBR) system to Vir-Clar Farm Power's already operational biogas facility in Wisconsin. The new system promises to increase the concentration of methane output while adding a new potential revenue stream to the mix: algae.
With slow returns and a tough regulatory climate, biogas has fought an uphill battle in North America. “Solutions4CO2 provides AD developers with real solutions to these economic and environmental challenges,” said Douglas Kemp-Welch, S4CO2’s Chief Executive Officer.
Integrated Biogas Refinery by Solutions4CO2 Inc.
The process of anaerobic digestion traditionally produces gas containing roughly 60% methane, 39% Carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1% hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Solutions4CO2's Integrated Biogas Refinery separates CO2 and H2S from methane by dissolving it into solid form, benefitting the system in two ways. First, it allows for a more concentrated methane stream, resulting in increased power generation. Second, the newly separated CO2 and H2S are used to produce algae biomass, whose by-products are sold on the open market.
Algae's future as a biofuel may still be up in the air but as many producers already know, there is a growing market for its nutraceutical and pharmaceutical co-products. If all goes as expected, this increased efficiency coupled with the new revenue will cut average new project payback times by more than half.
Solutions4CO2 Inc. (S4CO2) is a Canadian company that develops innovative Waste to High Value Co-Product solutions for waste gas, water and biomass streams.
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.
Green tech company, HDS International announced today the licensing of an algae production technology that uses carbon emissions to feed algae. Developed by Hillwinds Ocean Energy, the technology enables all-natural, industrial non-toxic ocean-based biomass production, significantly reducing production expenses while increasing productivity.
This innovation, said HDS CEO, Tassos Recachinas, will address “the world's most significant long-term problems, namely eco-sustainability and energy independence."
The production technology can be applied to remove large volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the waste emissions of a carbon emitter (reducing their CO2 pollution), and to transfer large volumes of CO2 to photosynthetic organisms, boosting growth rates.
Under the terms of the license, HDS will apply the technology to develop fully integrated carbon capture, sequestration, and algae-for-biofuels production and processing facilities.
Learn more about Octaform for open-pond algae cultivation here. Photo: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
A renewable and sustainable source of biofuel feedstock, algae contain protein and carbohydrates that can be processed into other marketable co-products (see here). According to many, algae-based biofuels represent the most promising large-scale substitute to petroleum. HDS believes that ocean-based algae production systems provide the best, most scalable pathway to overcome many of the hurdles associated with other conventional and alternative energy sources, while recycling carbon in a manner that is efficient, affordable and environmentally stable.
Commercial micro-crop technology provider PetroAlgae recently announced the completion of a major third party study showing that micro-crop meal performs as well as alfalfa in dairy cattle diets.
The micro-crop technology employs indigenous, aquatic micro-organisms suitable to local climates and is designed to enable its technology licensees to produce a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels, a high-value protein co-product, and a new micro-crop meal for animal feed (which was the subject of the study), while absorbing carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions.
The study encompassed a continuous 6-week feeding trial of a statistically significant sample of 36 dairy cows in the barns at the University of Minnesota.
“The results of this study show that PetroAlgae micro-crop meal is a desirable ingredient for high producing dairy cattle and that it performed comparably to high-protein alfalfa meal,” said Dr. Noah Litherland, who performed the study at the University of Minnesota. “We are encouraged to see this product perform so well against one of the more universally understood products in dairy nutrition
The University of Minnesota study is the first to validate PetroAlgae micro-crop meal in the dairy diet against the industry standard, and its findings about PetroAlgae micro-crop meal and alfalfa should apply anywhere this market exists. Furthermore, the local deployment advantages of PetroAlgae’s technology and the continuous nature of its production process, create supply chain advantages for the faster-growing dairy markets in Asia and the Middle East, all of which have a growing dependence on imports. Micro-crop farms utilizing PetroAlgae’s technology grow new sources of protein, feed, and fuel feedstocks locally that are not genetically modified and are resistant to local diseases.
“We are very excited with the findings of Dr. Litherland and his team at the University of Minnesota, said Anthony Tiarks, CEO of PetroAlgae. “Confirming our product value against such a large and well-understood feed market is a key step in accelerating our commercialization and opens the door for bringing PetroAlgae micro-crop meal to other species and feed applications. We believe the need for imports and destination market risks in the supply chain can be greatly reduced by utilizing our technology. It can also provide a longer-term supply solution to the decline of forage acres around the world, as competing crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton displaces forage.”
Algae biofuels are continuing to capture the imagination of industry.
Japanese companies, IHI Corporation, Gene and Gene Technology (G>), and the Neo-Morgan Laboratory (NML) recently announced the formation of a joint company hoping to create jet fuel from algae.
Working with Kobe University, G> has developed an algal species called "Enomoto Alga." It grows through photosynthesis absorbing carbon dioxide. "Enomoto" has the highest growth rate among all algal varieties that produce fuel, and multiplies in a month to an amount about 1,000 times more than that achieved by the original species before improvement.
The joint company will also incorporate NML’s experience in the industrial application of microorganisms as well as IHI’s design and construction technologies of bio-plants, and carry out R&D activities such as trial operation of a low-cost culture system, development of oil content separation and extraction methods, and further improvement of the Enomoto Alga variety. The company plans to begin with culturing algae in an extent of several dozen liters in the short term, and expand to several cubic meters in two years.
Octaform tanks are ideal for open-pond algae cultivation. Click here to find out why.
The new company, called IHI NeoG Algae, plans to invest about 5 million USD during the first two years and hopes to supply test samples of algae-based jet fuel within three years with a price target of just $1.25 per liter (down from the current cost of $12.50).
Who knew that a simple organism growing from a water tank could be so versatile?
The prolific oil-producing ability of microalgae
Biotechnology company Solazyme, manufacturer of renewable oils by harnessing microalgae's prolific oil production, has been successful in capitalizing on algae's diverse properties. Solazyme derives oil from algae (by using standard industrial fermentation equipment) to produces a suite of high-value markets: fuels, chemicals, nutrition and health sciences.
Solazyme has just signed agreements with Sephora Canada and The Shopping Channel®, to launch a microalgae-based anti-aging skincare line will be selling in all 26 Canadian Sephora stores and on The Shopping Channel’s highest rated beauty programming starting this month.
Algenist is formulated with Solazyme's breakthrough ingredient, alguronic acid, an unexpected discovery which was found by the company’s leading biotechnology scientists while researching microalgae for renewable energy solutions. When studied for potential anti-aging benefits, alguronic acid demonstrated significant results and outperformed some of the most well known anti-aging ingredients on the market including hyaluronic acid, retinol and vitamins C and E.
“Algenist comes from a lineage of biotechnology expertise that is not only pioneering the future of skincare, but reinvigorated the luxury skin and personal care space,” said Frederic Stoeckel, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Solazyme Health Sciences. “Sephora and The Shopping Channel provide incredible support and access to some of the largest markets in the world and we look forward to a successful launch with their respective audiences in Canada."
In the same week this announcement was followed by the ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approval of the use of algae- and other sustainably-derived biofuels in commercial aviation.
Octaform's watertight tank. Learn more about high performance tank construction technology for algae.
"We applaud the historic ruling by ASTM International, and the continued work of both ATA and CAAFI, to implement sustainable initiatives for the aviation industry. Today's ruling approving the use of algae- and other sustainably-derived biofuels in commercial flight, is a regulatory breakthrough and provides a critical step in the commercialization of advanced, low-carbon biofuels. Solazyme commends these leading industry organizations for their continued commitment to secure alternative energy supplies."says Jonathan Wolfson, co-founder and CEO of Solazyme.
The prolific oil-producing ability of microalgae starts from carefully harvested algae. Learn more about microalgae production: