The algae biofuel sector has had a pretty good year with many advances in the field. During this time, the world has seen funding for research from both public and private sources increase greatly, but there still hadn't been too many announcements of plans to implement any of the various algae technologies currently being developed.
However, U.S. based OriginOil recently announced that they will be selling some of their algae products to an Australian energy company, representing their first sale of algae products to an algae producing customer.
In a recent press release by OriginOil, they stated that MBD Energy Limited plans to purchase OriginOil's Quantum Fracturing and Single-Step Extraction systems. These two systems will be coupled with MBD's own proprietary algae growth system called the “Algae Synthesizer”.
MBD has already partnered with three of Australia's largest coal power generators to build algae production test facilities that will harness the coal-fired power plant's CO2 for algae growth. The goal of these facilities is to achieve Bio-CCS or Carbon, Capture and Storage from a biological source. OriginOil's technology will help algae growth as well as oil extraction when production is initiated.
If each of the three coal-fired power stations installs an 80-hectare algae production plant, they could produce a combined 33 million liters (8.7 million gallons) of algal oil that could be used to create fuel or plastics as well as 75,000 tonnes (82,650 tons) of animal feed a year.
Before that can happen, OriginOil and MBD will have to complete phase one of their partnership, which involves equipping an MBD funded facility at James Cook University with OriginOil's products and begin integrations between the two companies' technologies. After this phase is completed, they will move on to a two-acre test site at a coal-fired power plant.
After this, their goal is to build a one-hectare algae pilot plant at the South Eastern (one of the three power plants MBD is partnered with) where they hope to capture 700 tonnes of CO2 a year. Finally, if that is successful, they hope to expand the algae plant to the levels explained above.
“There are exciting developments beyond this,” OriginOil CEO Riggs Eckelberry explained, “but this already represents the most aggressive implementation of large-scale real-world algae production that we know of in the world today.”
Mr. Eckelberry also explained that while OriginOil originally developed their system for wastewater treatment and biodiesel refining, the Bio-CSS abilities of algae are attracting mining companies and their customers (like coal-fired power plants) who “are on a mission to do something about their CO2 emissions right NOW.”
The good news is that this sale will help propel OriginOil into the spotlight with regards to algae production and while their first sale may have been overseas, there are many commercial opportunities in the United States that they are looking to pursue in the future.
Jonathan Williams is a conservative blogger at www.BlatantReality.com and www.SCStatehouseBlog.com. He is also the founder and current president of the nonprofit organization Need by Need, Inc. He can be reached at Jon@BlatantReality.com.
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Note: Picture one appear courtesy of MBD and is what they
envision their Bio-CCS plant to look like.