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GSPI Algae-To-Biodiesel Phase II Demonstration Project Successful; Negotiations Underway for 100-Acre Facility

9 July 2007

Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has successfully completed Phase II of its 40,000-liter Algae-To-Biodiesel Demonstration Facility in Montana. (Earlier post.) Phase II testing included pushing the survival environmental envelope of the developed algae strain (zx-13) utilized by GSPI.

GSPI’s Hybrid Algae Production System (HAPS) incorporates the controlled environment of the closed photobioreactors with the inexpensive construction technology of an open pond system.

The zx-13 strain survived at elevated temperatures, much higher than any tested in most of the available literature over the last 50 years. Temperature testing by universities usually cuts off at 90 °F, this zx-13 strain successfully endured peak temperatures of 115 °F for several hours on successive days.

—Joseph LaStella, President of GSPI

GSPI also tested salinity levels outside the normal operating range for saltwater algae and the zx-13 strain exhibited strong survivability. The zx-13 strain also exhibited acceptable 21% oil content. The balance of the biomass is being tested for high-grade protein content to be used as animal feed and organic fertilizer.

However, GSPI did not anticipate the exponential growth of the algae. Algae harvesting occurred sooner than expected and GSPI had not yet received all harvesting equipment. GSPI harvesting techniques allow only the algae cells larger than 2 microns to be captured and the smaller size algae returned to the pond to reproduce.

In an effort to harvest as soon as possible, a 1,750 rpm vane pump was used instead of a slurry pump and resulted in shearing and damaging the smaller algae cells returning to the pond, which caused a temporary pond shutdown.

This is not an operational problem, it's only part of the learning curve.

—Joseph LaStella

The success of the Montana demonstration facility has paved the way for the next stage, which is a 100-acre production facility. At the present time GSPI is in negotiations in three states—California, Missouri and Utah—for this 100-acre facility. One of the considerations in site selection is the ability to expand to a much larger facility of 500 to 1,000 acres, according to GSPI.

July 9, 2007 in Biodiesel, Biomass | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

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So...how will they keep the temperature below 115 degrees Farenheit if they locate near the Salton Sea? They don't want to open the windows on the Bioreactor because they're trying to keep the CO2 in, right? Or is that only with algae bioreactors fed from flue gas? The Salton Sea area would probably be fed off of farm runoff. Then again, that might introduce new algae strains...but maybe those wouldn't be saltwater strains so no invasive issues.

Seperate thought; Is 21% lipids high yeild enough? I thought the Aquatic Species Program suggested 50% lipids was possible. Maybe those strains don't compete well enough.

Or is that only with algae bioreactors fed from flue gas?

They need some source of CO2. It's not a matter of keeping CO2 in, it's providing continuous input of CO2 so the algae can continue to photosynthesize, a process that consumes CO2.

I have read 50 % yield is not easy to achieve and only happens the cells are subjected to cold temperature and poor nutrient environments. Wonder if they have developed strains that overcome these constraints.

Healthy Breeze,

Salton Sea is 44ppt salt around 25% higher than ocean water is NG. This is a tiny outfit with next to zero assets and funding. Negotiating with Missouri and Utah that get their salt water from where?

Speaking of which where are the big lab boys in this sector? Open sea trials with invasive resistant high yield strains are what we need.

Inexpensive open ponds? The capital costs for pond construction, harvesting equipment, supply of nutrients and CO2, etc, etc.) are much, much higher than for conventional agriculture, while biomass yields per acre are similar at best. Don't throw your savings in the pond...

janvb:

Said open ponds are much cheaper than the photobioractors that other firms are working on. As for the yields being similar, I've seen conflicting reports on that. Added CO2 does accelerate the growth rates. As the article says, they already underestimated them for this particular strain and system.

No wonder they tested this in the summer. We all know that algae productivity and survival rates drop spectacularly in spring, autumn and winter.

Of the more than 50 trials mentioned and carried out by the Aquatic Species Program, only 5 cultures survived an entire year, with pretty low yields. The bulk was destroyed after a month or two.

I remain a sceptic.

Apparently government research refuses to do any heavy lifting in this arena. After reviewing the ASP results of shallow pond testing in a midwest climate, now more than ten years old, the data represents an extremely narrow band of research.

Closed bioreactors situated near warm salt water emphasizing high lipid yield is a reasonable area to look at. And the open/covered ponds in tropical environs with species resistant to invaders is another. Not following through in this area is a curious avoidance.

Non SEC-filing Pinksheet company - smells like a scam.

Maybe a scam ... certainly looks more like a "one man in his barn" operation trying to look big.

full disclosure: I own GSPI, but due to management of past volatility I was able to remove all my principal.

It is kind of a one man dog and pony show, but they actually do build stuff, and at least they are doing research in this area. I can't as I spend to much time on the internet. If this is a scam it won't cause anyone to jump out of windows. Its chump change compared to Enron, Iraq, and the current 2 party system.

Saltwater ponds pose a certain amount of environmental risk, as evidenced by the lack of rankine cycle solar energy using stratified salt water ponds.

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