Algae Screen and Live Extraction
Because of shared technology, algae growers can now operate two continuous processes in one integrated system that defends algae from microscopic invaders, while ‘milking’ the algae of its beneficial oil.
Enhancing Algae Growth by Reducing Competing Microorganisms
Patent-pending Algae Screen™ keeps algae healthy and productive by selectively eliminating microscopic predators without the use of chemicals. The technology employs a highly-tuned electromagnetic pulse that is designed to target rotifers, bacteria and ciliates. These predators reduce the yield of algae crops by consuming valuable oil and biomass.
All algae are targets for invasion, especially those that are oil-rich. Contamination occurs in virtually all growth systems, and is particularly problematic in open-pond environments. Addressing this challenge is a major hurdle to commercial-scale production.
Algae Screen operates without disruption of the growth cycle and is fully integrated with Live Extraction, with which it shares common underlying technology.
Efficient and Continuous Extraction
The patent-pending Live Extraction™ process enables OriginOil to extract algae oil on a continuous basis without cell sacrifice. The process can be operated in parallel with Single-Step Extraction. Live Extraction, sometimes referred to as “milking”, is inherently efficient because it achieves continuous algae oil production without destroying the algae cell. Therefore a single algae cell can produce more oil during its lifetime using lower amounts of energy.
Inexpensive and Versatile
Unlike other approaches to live extraction, OriginOil’s process does not employ expensive consumables such as reverse osmosis membranes; furthermore, it is not limited to vulnerable oil-bearing algae strains, such as Botryococcus braunii, that are known to excrete algae oil naturally.
Avoiding Permanent Damage
Algae typically protect their oil behind a tough cell wall. The challenge of live extraction is to harvest the oil without causing permanent damage to the cell. Live Extraction works by stimulating the algae cells through specific electrical modulations. OriginOil has succeeded in maintaining healthy algae cultures while continuously harvesting oil from them.
At any time in the continuous process, only some algae cells are ready for extraction. The process harvests these cells while the ‘unripe’ cells continue to grow. The harvested cells will eventually regenerate oils for another harvest.
Live Extraction yield higher quality oil than conventional extraction methods. Single-Step Extraction should still be employed for maximum productivity and to refresh the algae population.
Live Extraction is especially beneficial when used with algae that have been genetically engineered for faster growth rate or higher lipid yields. With Live Extraction, OriginOil provides a technology platform for companies that are working to improve algae stains for greater productivity.
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