Algenol hits 9K gallons/acre mark for algae-to-ethanol process

March 11, 2013 |

110914algenolAlgae pioneer now at 50% above original productivity target — aims to complete demo in 2013, head for commercial-scale in 2014.

In Florida, Algenol confirmed that the company had exceeded production rates 9,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year — and company CEO Paul Woods said that ” I fully expect our talented scientific team to achieve sustained production rates above 10,000 by the end of this year.”

Just last September, in the opening plenary session at the Algae Biomass Summit, Woods revealed that the company, at its 4-acre, outdoor Process Development Unit in Lee County, Florida, had achieved continuous production of ethanol at the 7,000 gallon per acre level.

It was a substantial increase over the company’s original target of 6,000 gpa, and were achieved in outdoor operation under normal operating conditions.

With the news, Woods confirmed that the company, after completing major construction activities at their integrated pilot scale biorefinery in 2012, has fully shifted focus to demonstrating the commercial viability of Direct to Ethanol technology at its pilot facility and identifying sites for commercial projects to begin in 2014.

Woods added, “Our patented ‘Direct to Ethanol’ technology enables the production of ethanol for around $1.00 per gallon using sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater. The low production costs are achievable because ‘Direct to Ethanol’ technology produces high yields and relies on our patented photobioreactors and proprietary downstream techniques for the low-cost recovery and purification of ethanol.

“One tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) is converted into 160 gallons of ethanol, and 2 gallons of fresh water are produced for each gallon of ethanol in the ‘Direct to Ethanol’ process.

While maintaining a primary focus on ethanol production, Woods indicated that Algenol had expanded its product portfolio to include diesel and jet fuel from waste algae.  “Ethanol will be our main commercial product and jet and diesel will be integrated into our process over the next 2 years. We also continue to monitor opportunities to adapt our algae-based platform technology to produce valuable chemicals, such as propylene-based chemicals.”

The news from Florida wa the first substantial expansion in the Algenol narrative since last October, when it was revealed that Reliance Industries Limited, the Indian petroleum, chemicals, telecom and manufacturing conglomerate, had invested a total of $116 million (Rs6.2 billion) in the algae space — with $93.5 million (Rs5.0 billion) going to Algenol and 22.5 million (Rs1.2 billion) to Aurora Algae.

More on Algenol and Reliance.

Algenol’s past milestones

In the first quarter of 2011, Algenol completed the construction of its 49,000 sq. ft. research facility located in Lee County.  This allowed Algenol to consolidate all its US operations that consist of engineering, aquaculture, physiology, analytical chemistry and molecular biology.

Construction on the 36 acre outdoor Integrated Biorefinery has begun in Fort Myers Florida (Lee County).

Algenol completed the acquisition of Cyano-Biofuels located in Berlin, Germany. The acquisition significantly increased Algenol’s research and development capacity and strengthened its access to European expertise in biotechnology and algal research.

Algenol completed an approximately $90 million private financing with a major multinational petroleum corporation that has become a new strategic partner for Algenol.

Future Milestones

Algenol intends to complete its DOE Biorefinery in 2013.  At full scale, the facility will consist of 17 acres filled with photobioreactors, and will produce 100,000 gallons of ethanol per year. The company expects to have a commercial project producing ethanol by the 4th quarter of 2014.

More on the story.


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