Scoop. A B5 (5%) blend of biodiesel produced by Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation (ABC) from wild algae successfully fueled a test drive in New Zealand by the Minister for Energy and Climate Change Issues, David Parker. The Aquaflow B5 also was used successfully several days earlier in a static engine test at Massey University’s Wellington campus.
Marlborough-based Aquaflow announced in May that it had produced the world’s first biodiesel derived from wild micro-algae harvested from local sewage ponds.
We believe we are the first company in the world to test drive a car powered by wild algae-based bio-diesel. This will come as a surprise to some international bio-diesel industry people who believe that this breakthrough is still years away.—Barrie Leay, Aquaflow spokesperson
Algae are readily available and produced in large volumes in nutrient-rich waste streams such as at the settling ponds of Effluent Management Systems (EMS).
ABC harvests algae directly from the settling ponds of standard EM and other nutrient-rich water. Aquaflow is still working on the final stage of bio-remediation of the pond water, which will ensure that the discharge exceeds acceptable quality standards. The harvesting process can be used in many industries that produce a waste stream, including the transport, dairy, meat and paper industries.
Aquaflow agreed to undertake a pilot with Marlborough District Council late last year to extract algae from the settling ponds of its EMS based in Blenheim. By removing the main contaminant to use as a fuel feedstock, Aquaflow is also helping clean up the council’s water discharge. Dairy farmers and food processors can also benefit in similar ways by applying the harvesting technology to their nutrient-rich waste streams.
Our next step is to increase capacity to produce one million litres of bio-diesel from the Marlborough sewerage ponds over the next year.—Barrie Leay
Aquaflow will launch a prospectus pre-Christmas as the company has already attracted considerable interest from potential investors. In August 2006, Aquaflow joined the Silicon Valley-based Girvan Institute of Technology. (Earlier post.)
The test drive signalled the completion of an R&D program funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST). ABC will be seeking further funding from FRST for the commercial scale-up of the technology next year.