Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), which has invested more than $100 million to develop algae-derived biofuels, is refocusing its research with Synthetic Genomics Inc. after almost four years of work failed to produce economically viable results.
A joint project between the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and industry partners could result in technology to grow algae to be made into several items, including biodiesel, in the heart of the Canadian petroleum industry: oil sands facilities.
The Algal Carbon Conversion Pilot Project, a partnership among the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) and Pond Biofuels, will result in the construction of a unique, $19 million facility in Alberta.
Chemists have found several compounds that can boost oil production by green microscopic algae, a potential source of biodiesel and other “green” fuels. Microalgae are single-celled organisms that, like green plants, use photosynthesis to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into complex compounds, including oils and lipids. Marine algae species can be raised in saltwater ponds, which means they don’t compete with food crops for land or fresh water.
“They can live in saltwater, they take sunlight and carbon dioxide as a building block, and make these long chains of oil that can be converted to biodiesel,” says Annaliese Franz, assistant professor of chemistry at University of California, Davis, and an author of the paper published in Chemical Biology.
Franz and team screened 83 compounds for their effects on growth and oil production in four strains of microalgae. They identified several that could boost oil production by up to 85 percent, without decreasing growth.
BioProcess Algae Awarded $6.4 Million U.S. Department of Energy Grant to Develop Advanced Drop-in Biofuels for Military Jets and ShipsPosted On: April 26, 2013
BioProcess Algae LLC has been selected to receive a grant of up to $6.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as part of an innovative pilot-scale biorefinery project related to production of hydrocarbon fuels meeting military specification. The project will use renewable carbon dioxide, lignocellulosic sugars and waste heat through BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester(TM) technology platform, co-located with the Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc., ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa.
Developing a new generation of energy-producing construction components, Grow Energy, of San Diego, California, plans for algae to create clean electricity for residential and commercial structures. Their first system, called Verde, is a technology specifically designed for individual homes. According to the company, Verde employs a clean combustion process to burn algal biomass to create electricity and heat energy, which can significantly offset a property’s utility expenses, if not supplement the entirety of a property’s electricity needs.
The Verde system photobioreactors are algae panels that mount onto a building’s roof or envelope and grow algae by using recycled elements and nutrients in a closed-loop process. Designed to be minimally invasive, the system is compact and meant to be no more intrusive to a home’s aesthetics than solar technology. Grow Energy plans to introduce Verde to the mainstream homeowner market in 2015.
Comparison of Tamoxifen with Edible Seaweed (Eucheuma cottonii L.) Extract in Suppressing Breast TumorPosted On: March 21, 2013
The extract of an edible red seaweed was found to be 27 percent more effective than standard chemo in shrinking breast tumors in rats while showing much less toxicity to liver and kidneys, and even improving the rats’ antioxidant status in both blood and tissues.
The tropical edible red seaweed (Eucheuma cottonii L.) is rich in nutrients and polyphenolic compounds that may suppress cancer through its antioxidant and antiproliferative properties. The study reports on rat mammary tumor suppression and tissue antioxidant status modulation by E. cottonii ethanol extract (ECE). The effect of orally administered ECE (100 mg/kg body-weight) was compared with that of tamoxifen (10 mg/kg body-weight). Rat was induced to develop mammary tumor with subcutaneous injection of LA-7 cells (6 × 10(6) cells/rat). The ECE was more effective than tamoxifen in suppressing tumor growth (27%), improving tissues (plasma, liver, and kidney) malondialdehyde concentrations, superoxide dismutase activity and erythrocyte glutathione concentrations (P < 0.05). Unlike tamoxifen, the ECE displayed little toxicity to the liver and kidneys.
The ECE exhibited strong anticancer effect with enzyme modulating properties, suggesting its potential as a suppressing agent for mammary gland tumor.
Cereplast, Inc. a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable bioplastics, has announced that the Company filed a patent application on March 15, 2013 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for algae bio-content polymers.
Cereplast’s new patent filing falls in line with their overall intellectual property strategy and specifically protects its innovations on Algae related material. This patent application is the result of several years of formulation and process development by the Cereplast research and development team. The Company first introduced the concept of bioplastics made with algae in 2009, commercialized Biopropylene® 109D in late 2012 and incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary, Algaeplast™, Inc., in early 2013.
Algaeplast will take over the development and manufacture of algae-based bioplastics to transform a range of low-cost algae into high-value bioplastic resins and renewable biofuels. The patent application was filed by Cereplast, but the use of the patent will be assigned to Algaeplast.
With such a focus on the possibilities that microalgae can offer, various industrial methods have been developed for its production. However, most are currently not economically viable, especially on a large scale.
Limitations to these systems include: sub-optimal productivity, expensive installation, large footprint (surface area), high water demand and the requirement for a highly trained end-user. The EU-funded ALDADISK project has been set up to meet these challenges by creating a scalable production unit, capable of delivering high value alga-based products and biomass while reducing CO2 emissions. Current commercial alga technologies use plantonic algae in water solution in Vertical Bioreactors (VB) or algae farms with large ponds. However, there are several disadvantages. The processes need a lot of water during production, CO2 is released through bubbling in the liquid phase and harvesting is difficult, time consuming and inefficient. In addition, the operation is difficult to scale up and leaves a large foot print.
ALDADISK’s proposed process is based on biofilm technology using a Rotating Disk reactor system similar to the state of art rotating reactors used elsewhere in the biological industry.
Algae derived nutrition and health products manufacturer Cyanotech Corporation, based in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, has announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal year 2013, ended December 31, 2012, showing a revenue increase of 8% over the corresponding quarter in the previous year.
For the third quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2012, revenues were $7,242,000 compared to $6,706,000. Gross profit was $2,865,000, with gross profit margin of 40%, compared to gross profit of $2,827,000 and gross profit margin of 42%. Net income was $607,000 or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to net income of $1,113,000 or $0.20 per diluted share.
Qualitas Health and Valicor Renewables Announce Strategic Partnership to Commercialize Algae-Based Omega-3 SupplementsPosted On: February 24, 2013
Qualitas Health and Valicor Renewables announced today a strategic partnership that will accelerate the launch of high-EPA Omega-3 oil from algae. The companies have joined forces to combine their expertise and experience in biology, advanced chemistry and technology commercialization to make a significant impact on the global Omega-3 market with next-generation algae based products.