OriginOil, Idaho Lab Work on Commercial Algae Production

OriginOil, Inc., has completed Phase 1 of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

OriginOil has been working with INL to develop a process model for the commercial production of algae for biofuels and other value-added products. Phase 1 of the CRADA focused on developing a comprehensive mass-energy balance of OriginOil's proprietary process. This helped the company develop its comprehensive productivity model recently presented to the National Algae Association's Quarterly Forum in Houston, Texas.

INL researchers provided core data on the projected efficiency and recovery values for the various steps involved in the algae-growing process, including lipid and biomass production from algae.

"Algae represent a potential key biomass resource for a sustainable bioenergy industry," said Tom Ulrich, INL senior advisory scientist. "Collaboration with OriginOil has been encouraging, especially the modeling of their algae growth and production process. Phase 2 of the CRADA will focus on further process validation, economic modeling and improved biomass logistics for the scale-up of algae biomass production."

INL and OriginOil are currently negotiating the scope and terms of Phase 2 and 3 of the CRADA. The deliverables for additional phases will include biological and chemical feedstock evaluation needed for systems integration design and scale-up demonstration.

This work will identify and incorporate minor feeds (such as trace nutrients for algae), recycle streams, intermediate storage, utilities needed, and waste streams. Equipment sizes and the appropriate number of parallel units will also be determined, resulting in a more robust economic analysis of industrial scale systems.

The company reported the results of Phase 1 as part of the first-ever productivity model for algae production.

"The new algae industry needed a comprehensive economic model to ramp up quickly," said OriginOil Chief Executive Officer Riggs Eckelberry. "INL has played an integral part in our efforts to quantify the performance of key steps within the OriginOil algae production system."

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