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.
The marine animal tunicate can be used both as biofuel and fish food, according to research from Norway. On the ocean floor, under the pier, and on ship ropes — that’s where the tunicates live. Tunicates are marine filter feeders that serve as bacteria eaters and as a foodstuff in Korea and Japan. But in the future they may become more prevalent.
Five researchers at the University of Bergen (UiB) and Uni Research have found that a certain type of tunicate — ascidiacea — can be used as a renewable source of biofuel and fish food. This is particularly good news for the growing aquaculture industry, which for years has struggled to find enough quality feed for its fish. There also is the prospect of reducing emissions from traffic.
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.
SCIENTISTS PUBLISH FIRST IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF ALGAE PARASITE IMPACT ON SCALABLE ALGAE BIOFUEL PRODUCTION IN PLOS ONE JOURNALPosted On: February 24, 2013
As part of an ongoing effort to improve commercial scale algae biofuel production, a group of scientists, led by crude oil producer Sapphire Energy, Inc., today announced the completion of a collaborative study which identified the morphology, ultrastructure, and life history of A. protococcarum, one of the most difficult to manage algae parasites. Their findings are detailed in “Characterization of Amoeboaphelidium Protococcarum: An Algal Parasite New to the Cryptomycota Isolated from an Outdoor Algal Pond Used for the Production of Biofuel,” published today in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE. The article provides a comprehensive study of the parasite challenge facing crop protection for scaled algae cultivation in open-pond systems. These results will provide a broader understanding and promote the development of sustainable management strategies for biofuel production.
Solarvest has made significant progress in its plans to use its patented algal technology to develop commercial products focused on health care. The Company recently completed negotiations to acquire a 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Summerville Prince Edward Island which will be repurposed to house the Company’s planned algal production. Solarvest has acquired the facility on a lease to own basis for $436,000 with an 8-year term, the previous owner had invested in excess of $2.2 million in developing the facility.
The Algae Biomass Organization, the trade association for the U.S. algae industry today hailed the findings of a University of California at San Diego study that concludes, for the first time, that marine (saltwater) algae can be just as capable as freshwater algae in producing biofuels. The research is documented in a peer-reviewed paper published online in the current issue of the scientific journal Algal Research.
Algae Biosciences Corporation is pleased to announce the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to negotiate and enter into a Research & Development (R&D) Agreement leading to a License Agreement with Syngar Technologies Inc., a private company based in Edmonton, Canada.
In partnership with Syngar, and using Syngar’s PLUSWaveTM technology, AlgaeBio will develop high-yield algae lipid/oil production systems to achieve greater cost efficiencies. AlgaeBio currently produces algae oils for use in omega-3 nutraceutical products. Previous studies have shown the use of PLUSWaveTM with a strain of algae from AlgaeBio generated a 16-per-cent increase in algae cell mass, with a corresponding 24-per-cent increase in oil production.