New single focus on extracting oil from algae strategically positions the company to provide the critical connection between algae growers and refiners.
Los Angeles, CA January 11, 2011 – 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, today announced that it has adopted an operating plan that focuses on commercializing its industry leading algae extraction technology platform. This new single focus on extracting oil from algae strategically positions the company to provide the critical connection between algae growers and refiners.
“It’s becoming clear the algae industry will be massive – as you’d expect a true petroleum alternative would be,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO. “No one company is going to do it all, and that’s why we have decided to focus on extraction, a highly specialized technology that we can embed in algae production systems worldwide.”
Extraction is a critical bottleneck in commercial algae production. At time of harvest, algae live in a great volume of water. Conventional extraction, adequate for specialty products, such as pharmaceuticals, is far too energy-intensive for large-scale uses such as fuel and chemicals. A scalable and proven solution to the extraction challenge is vital to the future of the fast-growing algae industry.
“Upstream, algae producers are beginning to invest in very large growing facilities and are finding success,” said Brian Goodall, OriginOil CTO. “Downstream, some very savvy companies are learning how to convert algae into fuel and many other products.”
“At the critical connection between them is what we call the ‘midstream’, where efficient harvesting, dewatering and oil extraction remain major challenges. That’s our new, long-term specialization,” Goodall said.
“Extraction is relatively less capital-intensive than growth or refining, and can generate very high returns on investment,” added Eckelberry.
“We are confident that this is the best area of focus for OriginOil. Capitalizing on our market leading competitive advantage will lead to long term business success.”
Single Step Extraction is currently implemented in the field at MBD Energy’s James Cook University site in North Queensland, Australia. It can be deployed in two ways: dewatering only for conversion of the entire algae mass to a refinable bio-oil, or full separation of lipids and biomass to create more valuable products along with fuels.
Live Extraction is OriginOil’s process for extracting very high quality lipids on a continuous basis from algae that heals after it has been ‘milked’ of its oil content. Live Extraction is in a prototype stage and further developments are expected in 2011.
The Hydrogen Harvester is OriginOil’s most recent development. It is a continuous, passive extraction system for removing hydrogen gas from algae. It is also at the prototype stage and further developments are expected in 2011.
The value of OriginOil’s hydrogen extraction process lies in recovering more energy from algae production systems than simply oil and biomass. Hydrogen is also essential to the refining process, enabling algae producers to refine algae at the place where they grow it.