Kwikpower International, a UK-based diversified renewable energy and fuels company, has acquired Advanced Biofuel Technologies from UTEK Corporation, a specialty finance company focused on technology transfer, in a stock transaction.
Advanced Biofuel Technologies holds the license to oil-producing microalgae developed at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The license is exclusive in the European Union and is non-exclusive in the United States.
The technology licensed is intended to encourage the enhanced production of microalgae that overexpress the Acetyl-Coenzyme A Carboxylase, leading to the overproduction of triglycerides. When these triglycerides are subjected to trans-esterification, they provide the hydrocarbon feedstock for the production of biodiesel fuels. Former NREL researcher Paul G. Roessler and his NREL team developed the technology. (The work is described in the NREL Close-out report referenced below under Resources.)
We believe that this NREL technology will enable us to rapidly expand Kwikpower’s opportunities in the bio-diesel markets in the USA and Europe. We also believe that it will allow us to reduce the overall cost of feedstock utilized in biodiesel production. We see significant, potential growth opportunities in both the USA and Europe for this technology.
This is the third technology transfer this quarter between Kwikpower and UTEK. The first two transfers were for technology to produce biodiesel from a distinctive variety of the green alga known as Botryococcus. The ancestors of Botryococcus are thought to be responsible for many of the world’s fossil fuel deposits.
Kwikpower acquired the exclusive license to a novel algae strain derived from a variety isolated by Dr. Arthur Nonomura, while at the University of California in Berkeley. This new strain grows faster than previous wild-type algae and, when combined with methods to switch on growth and accelerate hydrocarbon production, may provide Kwikpower with the ability to grow biodiesel components at competitive prices. The ability to grow bio-derived gasoline and diesel components cost-effectively offers Kwikpower the potential opportunity to help meet the growing demand for energy with a Low-Carbon solution.—Dr. James Watkins, CEO and Chairman of Kwikpower International
With this novel process, we hope to see future farms of oil-bearing algae as a sustained source for bio-diesel, comparable to the way that we cultivate our food.—Richard Bolin, a Technology Transfer Officer at NREL
Separately, PetroSun Drilling, an emerging provider of oilfield services to major and independent producers of oil and natural gas, announced it has formed a subsidiary to engage in the research and development of algae cultivation as an feedstock in the production of biodiesel. The R&D and production facilities for Algae BioFuels will be based in Arizona and Australia. (Earlier post.)
A Look Back at the US Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program: Biodiesel from Algae (NREL Close-out Report, 1998)