Global Green Solutions has agreed to fund a pilot plant demonstrating an algae-based bioreactor system that converts captured CO2 to bio-fuel oil. The funding, at an estimated cost of $ 2,500,000, earns Global Green the exclusive world rights for commercialization of the technology, developed by Valcent Products.
The Vertigro system consists of a series of closely spaced vertical bio-reactors constructed of thin film membranes allowing high levels of light penetration. The membrane is configured for an optimum flow for the growth of algae. This system produces much higher algae growth rates than other systems, according to the company.
When fully operational, the system yields a constant supply of algae which is harvested, dried and processed to remove the oil, leaving a residue of some 50% by weight, which can also be sold for a variety of commercial products. The system will be a closed loop, which allows for a greater retention of water in the system, and eliminates cross contamination by other algae species.
Valcent has extrapolated data from its test bed facility to conclude that production yields of up to 150,000 gallons (3,570 barrels) of bio-oil per acre per year are possible at a cost of about $20 per barrel. By comparison, soybeans yield about 68 gallons per acre and palm about 635 gallons per acre.
After the demonstration pilot plant is in operation (targeted for July 2007), several production units that may total 1,000 acres may be built which would have the potential of producing approximately 4,000,000 barrels of oil per year, along with significant carbon dioxide green credits and other commercial products.
On completing the pilot plant, Global Green will have earned a 70% joint venture interest, leaving Valcent with a 30% carried joint venture interest with both parties subject to 4.5% third party royalties. Under the terms of the Joint Venture, Valcent retained the right to carry Global Green for a 30% Joint Venture interest if Valcent elects to produce a model for the consumer markets.