Suite of breakthrough technologies now combined for end-to-end algae-to-oil production
Los Angeles, CA February 1, 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, unveiled a comprehensive pilot system for algae growth and harvesting at an exclusive event held at its Los Angeles headquarters on Thursday, January 28.
At the event, Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO, spoke to the assembled group of core investors, celebrities and members of the press. “I’m very proud of our team that has worked so hard over the months to make our technologies work in a complete pilot system,” he said. “Until now we have been in pure research and development. Now we have turned the corner to commercialization of our technologies. It’s a historic milestone for us.”
Sipping algae martinis and nibbling at raw treats, guests also viewed the company’s Live Extraction system, designed to “milk” algae oil without destroying algae cultures, and a bioreactor prototype specifically designed for wastewater applications.
“Algae will be local,” Eckelberry concluded. “Unlike today’s centralized energy systems, algae will go wherever the CO2 is, and that’s everywhere.” He continued, “Algae systems will be attached to wastewater plants, factories, breweries, and any other location that generates CO2. This will lead to highly distributed energy production model and will truly deliver the jobs creation that we so urgently need in this country and the world.”
At the heart of the new system is a series of 200-gallon tanks which can be individually configured and managed for various strains, growth strategies, and lighting geometries. The tanks are now illuminated with LED light sticks submerged in icicle-like arrays. A stirrer circulates the algae slowly around the lights.
Once the algae reaches harvest concentration it is sent to the integrated extraction system, a combination of ultrasound generation and low-power electromagnetic pulsing (time-lapse video). This new system has a throughput of 5 gallons per minute, which easily keeps up with the daily output of the pilot system. After extraction, a series of settling tanks separates the oils and biomass for eventual use as fuel and valuable by-products. A water recycling system completes the loop so the process can start again. (Diagram)
The company’s Dynamic Control System manages the operation of the growth phase, releasing CO2 and other nutrients as the algae needs it. While bottled CO2 is currently used, an in-house generator is planned to test real-world scenarios where exhaust gas is processed for its CO2.