|The Green Star demonstration pond.|
Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has completed Phase I of its 40,000 liter microalgae demonstration pond in Montana.
The goal of the Phase I process was to resolve operational problems for algae production involving the temperature of water in large systems, salinity, evaporation, pH and the initial cost of construction. Phase II will see the introduction of algae to the pond.
There are two basic approaches to cultivating algae for fuel crops: closed photobioreactors and open pond systems. GSPI’s Hybrid Algae Production System (HAPS) that incorporates the controlled environment of the closed photobioreactors with the inexpensive construction technology of an open pond system.
The demonstration HAPS system in Montana has an individual pond capacity of 40,000 liters. The 40,000-liter pond with a four-person crew was assembled in less than 12 hours after the necessary construction materials were onsite.
During the test period, the pond experienced temperatures varying from 34°F to 82°F, winds up to 30 mph, heavy rains, some snow, cloudy and sunny periods. The enclosed HAPS kept pond temperatures 30°F to 36°F higher than the outside temperature on cold nights—well above the optimum minimum growing temperature for algae of 64°F.
The HAPS can also use additional external temperature controls, if necessary, to cool ponds in the hot summer and heat ponds in winter conditions during extended sunless days to maintain maximum growth conditions.
GSPI’s HAPS enclosed ponds have a partial light barrier to promote optimum light conditions—25% to 50% direct sunlight—for algae photosynthesis.
In separate algae news, PetroSun announced that its Algae BioFuels subsidiary issued an exclusive algae-to-biofuel production technology license to ETC Energy for the Native American markets. ETC Energy will seek to enter into joint venture agreements with Native American tribes to produce biodiesel, electricity and animal feed from the algae-to-biofuel technology within tribal lands.