Algae Biodiesel Company Opens First Large Greenhouse
October 21, 2008 11:10 AM
comment(s) - last by
GreenFuel experimented with growing algae in tubes and bags at its Arizona pilot farm. While most of its competitors are sticking to these methods, GreenFuels has developed a closely-guarded greenhouse technologies which grows algae at higher yields and an automated system to harvest the crop. It will be debutting this setup at a commercial scale plant in Spain, to be complete in 2011.
Algae company's harvest will make biodiesel, nutritious livestock feed
Many in the alternative fuels industry agree that algae is where the mid-range future of the biodiesel industry lies. While fuels such as ethanol and
may prevail in the short term, algae is seen as the final stepping stone before full synthetic gasoline production. This value is due to
algae's ability to grow rich long chain hydrocarbons
. When algae is genetically engineered, it can produce large amounts of oil that is essentially diesel grade.
The big question with algae tech is not whether it will arrive, but when it will arrive.
had previously followed Cambridge, Mass. based GreenFuel Technologies'
effort to bring its specially bred algae to the market
. The company, founded by MIT graduates, had built a pilot farm in Arizona, previously. By growing algae in tubes, it found that algae would get optimal sun exposure. Its only problem was that it grew too much algae, blocking out light, and eventually killing part of the crop.
Now GreenFuel is taking its experience and has become the first algae company to announce a profitable business deal and the construction of a commercial scale growth facility. Spain's Aurantia, a leading alternative energy investment firm, has agreed to pay GreenFuels $92M to build a 100 hectacre (250 acre) algae farm. The farm will produce 25,000 tons of biomass yearly.
GreenFuel, which recently celebrated its 7th anniversary, already has a 100 square-meter prototype greenhouse operating at the site in Spain. GreenFuel ditched the growing tubes, opting for a top-secret tubeless proprietary growing process, one which includes automated harvesting. Thus far the company has declined to reveal the secretive workings of this new design.
It has, however, announced its intention to scale the production up quickly. It plans to have a 1,000 square-meter installation online by the end of the year. The full farm is scheduled to be completed by 2011.
The plant will take carbon dioxide emissions from the nearby Holcim cement plant near Jerez, Spain and use it to increase algae yields. This will cut down on Holcim cement plant near Jerez, Spain, almost 10 percent of the factory's output. This will help the factory meet tougher emissions standards.
The developers are in the process of selecting which strains of algae to grow. Certain strains are optimized for biodiesel production; bred to produce extra oil. Other strains produce extra nutrients like protein and make for more nutritious animal feed.
CEO Simon Upfill-Brown acknowledges that the field is full of overly optimistic visions, but insists his company is firmly grounded in reality and a series of successful trials. He states, "Some people are making clearly outrageous claims. We're at the stage where we can say we are pretty comfortable and very optimistic that we're getting all the way there in phases."
One trouble spot for the upcoming farm is falling gas prices. With gas low, it may be harder for the farm's biodiesel production to be economically competitive. This was cited as the resaon for rival Imperium Renewables' delay of its plan to launch a smaller algae farm in Hawaii.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/21/2008 11:24:23 AM
This is the first bio-fuel that actually makes sense to pursue. I am glad to see the technology advancing and being actually implemented.
RE: Good news
10/21/2008 1:06:54 PM
This does look like a very promising technology. What's even more impressive is that this is, quite possibly, the only environmental article on DT in which there are no heated arguments going on in the comments. For once, the liberals and conservatives here are pretty much on the same side.
RE: Good news
10/21/2008 1:44:14 PM
I think most of the conservatives here only have a problem with inefficient renewable energy sources. I am sure - if - lets say solar technology jumped in efficiency by 20 fold and prices cut by 50+% that they would be singing the praises of solar as they were getting new panels attached to their homes.
My hopes are no major road blocks show up in this technology. That it is as promising as it looks.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
Inside The Magic Box -- How Coskata Will Deliver $1/Gallon Ethanol
October 14, 2008, 3:51 PM
A Green Harvest -- Teams Seek to Optimize Algae to Oil Process
August 21, 2008, 9:15 AM
Algae May Solve Ethanol vs. Gas Dilemma
May 2, 2008, 2:33 PM
Nail Polish May Soon be Able to Detect Date Rape Drugs
August 26, 2014, 7:57 AM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
Texas Chosen as Site for SpaceX's First Commercial Launchpad
August 5, 2014, 1:44 PM
South Carolina Prison Finds Crashed Drone Carrying Drugs, Phones
August 1, 2014, 2:49 PM
NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Gains Seven New Instruments for Exploration
August 1, 2014, 1:30 PM
NASA Opportunity Rover Breaks Record for Most Miles Traveled on Another Planet
July 29, 2014, 1:38 PM
Most Popular Articles
HTC Preps Nexus 9 With Nvidia K1 64-Bit "Denver" SoC, Android L Onboard
September 10, 2014, 10:21 PM
Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Reviews Roll In
September 16, 2014, 9:13 PM
Big Media: If You Want Privacy, You're Probably a Pirate
September 18, 2014, 2:57 PM
Apple Cripples NFC in iPhone 6, 6+ With Developer Ban
September 17, 2014, 1:00 PM
"Decepticon" Driver Triumphs Over Cops in Massachusetts Court
September 5, 2014, 12:07 PM
Latest Blog Posts
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information