Government-funded ‘Manhattan Project’ to pursue aggressive national jet fuels goal
Los Angeles, CA – February 14, 2011 – OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL), the developer of breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, has agreed to participate in a pilot scale algae project to be funded by the Mexican government. The project will demonstrate industrial algae production, paving the way for substantial investment by the Mexican government in large-scale jet fuels production.
“We are excited to support Mexico’s ‘Manhattan Project’ to produce 1% of the nation’s jet fuel from algae in less than five years,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO.
“By the end of this decade, the project must produce nearly twenty times that amount, propelling Mexico to the front rank of bio-fuel producing nations. We pledge the full dedication of our resources to help make this happen.”
The project operator, Genesis Ventures of Ensenada, Baja California, has received a first Economy Ministry grant through The National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) for its first site. Genesis will develop the site as a model for numerous additional projects to be co-located with large CO2 sources.
Ensenada’s Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE) will operate the Genesis site. The facility offers a team of world-class researchers, sophisticated laboratory equipment, and bench-scale algae cultivation infrastructure. Genesis will also invite University of Baja California (UABC) algae researchers to collaborate in the project. Ensenada is a perfect environment for algae growth, with abundant sunlight and access to seawater.
“We intend to rely heavily on OriginOil’s expertise in feeding and sanitizing algae cultures, and its core harvesting and extraction technology,” said Eduardo Durazo Watanabe, President of Genesis Ventures. “Through our partner Jose Sanchez, we have a uniquely close association with OriginOil which will enable us to scale up production quickly.”
In addition to his leadership role at Genesis, Mr. Sanchez is OriginOil’s vice president of growth and production. He recently helped increase algae production at a research site operated by Australia’s MBD Energy Limited, OriginOil’s first pilot partner.
Before joining OriginOil, Sanchez was General Manager of Aurora Mexico, a then-subsidiary of San Francisco-based Aurora Algae, where he launched Aurora’s Mexico-based field operations, built and opened its R&D facilities, managed initial scale-up endeavors, provided information to decision makers to aid in site selection, and carried out negotiations on land acquisition, water rights and CO2 procurement. Sanchez also introduced landmark Mexican legislation to address the environmental, water management and land use aspects of algae production systems. He has continued to work with Mexican stakeholders to develop that country’s strategic algae infrastructure.