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Inventure Chemical and Seambiotic in Algae-to-Biofuel JV in Israel

Seattle, WA-based Inventure Chemical has entered into a joint venture with Tel Aviv, Israel-based Seambiotic Ltd. to construct a pilot commercial biofuel plant in Israel that will use algae grown with CO2 from flue gas as feedstock.

The plant will utilize high-yield oil-rich algae strains that Seambiotic has developed and grown in its open pond system coupled with Inventure’s patent-pending conversion processes to produce ethanol, biodiesel and other value-added chemicals.

We reviewed many potential processes for converting our algae strains to biofuel. In numerous tests we’ve conducted with Inventure at their Seattle plant, we’ve been consistently pleased with the quality of the biofuel resulting from their process. Inventure’s technology will enable us to maximize the biofuel yield from our algae.

—Prof. Ami Ben-Amotz, chief scientific adviser to Seambiotic

Seambiotic was founded in 2003 to grow and process marine microalgae. For the last five years, the company has carried out an extensive R&D pilot study at the Israeli Electric Corporation’s power station near the city Ashkelon, Israel.

The pilot has developed methods for cultivation of various species of marine microalgae using the power station’s CO2 flue gas emissions which pass through pipelines directly to Seambiotic’s open ponds. The pilot plant has yielded a concentration of algae containing a high percentage of lipids and carbohydrates in a very short term, promoting the production of bio-fuel.

Inventure Chemical  was formed to develop and commercialize feedstock conversion technologies for biofuel producers. The company is applying its processes to a variety of second-generation feedstocks, including algae and various cellulosic materials, to create biodiesel and ethanol.

Inventure is in the final stages of closing its second round of private financing.



This makes way more sense than ethanol from corn.


Congratulations to the Israelis for recognizing this ALL IMPORTANT energy resource. It has been around a long time and somehow,m in spite of repeated table pounding - never got the attention it so richly deserves. Algal bio-reactors built next to coal fired industry removes CO2 and combined with modern scrubbing, lowers emissions significantly. Good work.


"Algal bio-reactors built next to coal fired industry removes CO2 "

this kills 2 birds with one stone doesn't it? not only does it scrub the CO2 from the flue gases, it then turns it into marketable biofuels/phytochemicals!! conceivably, the CO2 scrubbing system could pay for itself, or even make a profit! this progress is already good, but I would like to see a LOT more funding for this very promising algal tech. Interesting that Israel is so forward-thinking in terms of alternative fuels (along with Project Better Place), of course they must be sick of funnelling money to the Saudis and other antagonist in the ME.


I bet the process could make a lot of money in China.


@ J T,

"I bet the process could make a lot of money in China."

Which stock to buy?

tom deplume

Algae only convert CO2 and H2O into sugar and O2 when the sun is shining and most fossil fueled power plants run 24/7. What happens to the flue gases when the sun goes down?


Algaes are lust one of the proposed microorganisms proposed for bio fuel production.
Non photosynthesisers are reporting "good" results as well.
Enhanced ,selected directed and genetically modified are all under investigation. Some wont need much in the way of CO2, some don't need sunlight, otherwise all seem to like temperature control water and nutrient for maximum growth.
Open ponds, heat and pumping facilities are found next to powerstations CO2 very often too. If we consider Municipal water treatment plants , then ponds pumps, water, nutrients and bio technicians can be found.
Both these facilities offer most of the required infrastructure already in place so only relatively minimal modifications are required especially in the early stages.
One added bonus for municipal water treatment is that the output water is highly purified to meet any requirement.
Not only do we get clean water , that at present here in Aus the Govt's in their wisdom wish to provide via energy guzzling and marine polluting desalination plants.
When we are talking about energy producing water and marine pollution remediation.
Dont ask me ? Its over my head.
Pre existing promises, contracts in the millions soon to be billions of dollars and community anger are often co located with incompetent govt and industry officials and lobbyists.
Could have something to do with money.

The good news is that we are all just a little more educated everyday.


I know Israel has many once 'natural' water courses that are so toxic you could dip your toe in and die.
A number of Aussies died after a bridge collapse a decade or two ago, not from any injury or drowning but from the toxic green brew.
Not for one minute should we assume that this is an isolated example.


"I know Israel has many once 'natural' water courses that are so toxic you could dip your toe in and die."

rubbish. I can tell from this comment you have never even been to Israel. while it does not have many large rivers, those that it does have are no more polluted than those in England, Germany or any other developed country.


July 19, 2007

Wound still festers 10 years after Maccabiah Games bridge tragedy
By Dan Goldberg

Mark Bennett, son of Maccabiah bridge disaster victim Yetty Bennett, lays a rose on the memorial of Greg Small after a service at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan. Photo by Brian Hendler/JTA
A decade after four Australians perished in the 1997 Maccabiah bridge disaster, those most affected by the incident say they've gradually learned to accept what happened.

Except for one festering wound.

As memorial services were held in Israel and Australia last weekend to remember those killed after a bridge over the polluted Yarkon River collapsed during the 1997 Maccabiah Games, plunging the Australian team into toxic waters, many remain angry that the man they say is responsible for the deaths continues to be employed by the Maccabi World Union.

Yoram Eyal was chairman of the 15th Maccabiah organizing committee and the man who commissioned the temporary bridge. Today, he is general manager of the Kfar Maccabiah village and sits on the executive board of Maccabi World Union.

"It's disgusting," said Frank Gaensler, who was pronounced clinically dead when he was pulled from the river, only to be revived and rushed to the hospital, where he spent five days in a coma. "It's a slap in the face to all of us."

Of the five men convicted of criminal negligence in 2000, four received jail sentences; Eyal was given six months of community service.

Colin Elterman, whose 15-year-old daughter Sasha was the most critical of the 60 or so injured Australians, described Eyal's continued employment as "a humiliation."

"Paul Wolfowitz resigns at the World Bank, even President Moshe Katsav steps aside," Elterman said. "All this, despite no deaths. But over at Maccabi, Yoram Eyal is promoted. If it were not so sad, it would be very funny,"

Adam Zines, whose 54-year-old father Warren deteriorated for almost a month before the Yarkon's toxic pollutants claimed his life, said he was "totally appalled."

The editorial in a commemorative edition of the Australian Jewish News described Eyal's promotion as "scandalous."

Eyal declined to comment when contacted.. He has refused to be interviewed by Australian media since the disaster.

However, Jeanne Futeran, Maccabi World Union president, defended Eyal during a recent visit to Australia, saying, "He's a good guy."

"He doesn't deserve to be further hassled over what happened," she told the Australian Jewish News. "He's never forgiven himself; he never will forgive himself."

Gaensler, who survived the accident, was one of the lucky ones. His partner, Yetty Bennett, 50, was not so fortunate. She died the night of the disaster, along with Greg Small, 37, whose wife, Suzanne, watched as attempts to resuscitate her husband failed.

The fourth Australian victim, Elizabeth Sawicki, 47, succumbed to poison two weeks after the bridge collapse. At the time, the Yarkon River was one of Israel's most polluted waterways. Parts of the river have since been cleaned up, but other sections remain dangerously toxic.

Last week, about 50 people attended a memorial service at the disaster site in Ramat Gan. Australian Ambassador to Israel James Larsen and Maccabi World Union Director-General Eyal Tiberger laid wreaths at the Bridge of Remembrance, a permanent structure built after the tragedy.

In Australia, prayer services were held in synagogues in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast on Saturday, exactly 10 years after the July 14, 1997, disaster. On Sunday, a memorial made of Jerusalem stone was unveiled at Melbourne's main Jewish cemetery, and four trees were planted in memory of the deceased.

In his address at the unveiling, Maccabi Australia president Harry Procel, who survived the bridge collapse, apologized to the victims' families.

"Everyone made mistakes at the time. Maccabi Australia, Maccabi World Union - even the State of Israel."

"It was an appropriate time for us to remember," he said after the ceremony. "It was probably the biggest tragedy Australian Jewry has suffered."

In Israel on Sunday, Maccabi World Union held a special executive meeting to mark the anniversary and sent letters to the four families, expressing "profound sorrow and sincere regret for their loss."

Many of those affected by the disaster said they found closure at the 2005 Maccabiah, when Australia sent its largest-ever delegation to the games and representatives of the victims' families attended a service at which the memorial was unveiled.

At that event, Maccabi Australia had to fight to remove Eyal from the VIP section of the stadium so that the Australians would not have to march past him.

For years after the tragedy, ties between Australian Jewry and Israel suffered. Tensions cooled somewhat after an independent commission of inquiry was launched in the Knesset in 1998. In 2000, Ron Bakalarz, Maccabi World Union president, and chairman Uzi Netanel finally resigned following pressure from Australian Jewry.

In 2003, the victims were paid about $17.4 million in compensation. Some $8.7 million of that went to the family of Sasha Elterman, who underwent more than 30 brain and lung operations and miraculously survived the bridge collapse.

Asked how he was coping on the eve of the anniversary of the tragedy, Gaensler said, "It will always be there with me. It is very difficult. Today is a bad day, and tomorrow is worse. But I fought my demons and won."


On issue.
As you say no worse than many other rivers in developed countries just dot eat the fish eric (pun intended)
Inform yourself


Algae biodiesel processors will probably be one of the biggest things to come from the 21st century for alternative energy developments.

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