Riggs Eckelberry reports on harvesting challenge and timeline for commercialization
Los Angeles, CA March 17, 2010 - OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL), the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, announced that the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Riggs Eckelberry, addressed the World Biofuels Markets Congress in Amsterdam on March 16, 2010 on the urgent harvesting challenge and the company’s own timeline for commercializing its technology.
Mr. Eckelberry joined fellow CEO Marc Van Aken of SBAE Industries in the last panel of the special Algae Fuels Conference. The two CEOs discussed “Harvesting, Dewatering and Extraction” – a stage currently considered a major barrier to algae’s commercialization due to high energy and capital costs. An audience discussion followed that ranged widely across algae industry issues.
CEO Eckelberry also gave an update on the company’s progress to market. He discussed the already-launched pilot scale lab system on 28 January 2010 (release), and estimated that by midyear, the company will launch a mobile algae extraction system dubbed ALGAEMAX™, which it will demonstrate to interested algae companies for potential commercial pilot projects in the second half of the year. He added that the company was in ongoing discussions with OEMs.
In his presentation, Eckelberry reviewed current industry approaches to extraction and harvesting in depth. These approaches typically require high capital investment, heavy energy usage, and often include toxic chemicals.
“It’s clear that algae will be produced everywhere and not just in large central plants,” commented CEO Eckelberry. “That means that harvesting systems must be portable, inexpensive and energy-efficient. We need dramatic improvement in this most-vital area of large-scale algae-to-oil production.”
He then discussed the radically-different OriginOil approach. OriginOil’s Single-Step Extraction™, known as “wet extraction”, separates the oil and biomass without first dewatering. This dramatically reduces the energy needed.
For the first time, Eckelberry published details of the company’s energy calculations for its extraction process: nearly one-tenth the energy cost of conventional methods, with a proportional reduction in investment expense.
“Current approaches to algae extraction do a great job of precision extraction, but at an energy cost that is unacceptable, even for specialty materials,” said Eckelberry. “Our process has shown an equally high level of extraction capability, with the energy and capital requirements that algae needs to fulfill its potential.”
On 26 October 2009, OriginOil announced that its algae oil extraction system had reached the highest industry efficiency standards, while requiring very low energy inputs.
The Algae Fuels Conference headlined Europe’s largest biofuels event, featuring presentations by Shell’s joint venture Cellana, Dow Chemical, Algenol, SBAE Industries, Sapphire Energy, Wageningen University & Research, The Carbon Trust, University of Sevilla-CSIC, A2BE, Aurora Biofuels, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, KIT Institute of Life Science Engineering, and was chaired by the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) and the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA).
The Netherland’s Minister for the Environment made the welcome address to the World Biofuels Markets Congress this year. Previous headliners have included former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Other keynote speakers included the former Prime Minister of Norway, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the current executive director of the International Energy Agency, and many more.
The World Biofuels Markets 2010 Congress took place from March 15-17 at the RAI Congress Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For more information, visit www.worldbiofuelsmarkets.com. The detailed event brochure can be downloaded here.