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PetroAlgae Raises $10M

PetroAlgae Inc., a Florida-based developer of systems to derive biodiesel fuels from algae, closed a $10 million capital raise through the sale of approximately 3.2 million of newly-issued shares of common stock to two existing investors.

Proceeds from the offering will help finance the commercialization of the company’s first biodiesel product derived from algae.

PetroAlgae licensed a library of 12 strains of high oil-yield algae from Arizona State University developed in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Aquatic Species Program, which concluded in 1996.

The algae have been further developed through process of directed selection for high oil content (>50%) and rapid growth (doubling in 24 hours). PetroAlgae estimates that its algae can yield up to 14,000 gallons of oil acre-1 year-1. Such a yield would exceed calculated practical maximum yields as presented at the recent Algae Biomass Summit in Seattle (earlier post).

There, Dr. Kristina Weyer of Solix presented a calculated a theoretical maximum algal oil production of 53,000 gal acre-1 year-1. In the practical cases, the yield ranged from a low of 4,900 gallons in Kuala Lumpur to a high of 6,500 gallons in Phoenix. In the concluding presentation of the Summit, Dr. John Benemann calculated maximum production with current technology at around ~2,000 gallons acre-1 year-1, with a potential upside of 2-3x with genetically improved algae.

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Comments

Keith Scott

I truly hope that this is the future of the energy industry. Eventually want to get to serial hybrids running diesel 3 cyl 1.0 liter engines as range extenders. Maybe Obama will actually invest some effort into US energy conservation also?

Treehugger

The future of algea is nothing but certain, high yield can only be achieved in closed pounds, it is a highly technical process to grow these algae, it requires constant mixing, controled amount of CO2 and nitrogen then starve the algae to increase the production of lipid, then separation of lipid from the algae is a challenge due to the lack of fibers that make pressuring it impossible. How can it be scaled to millions of tons ? I have hard time to envision it. if somoene has more insight on the whole picture, I would be happy to heara about it.

Reel$$

There is a lot of discussion about extraction methods. But there appear to be very few dollars invested in improving the process.

http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/extract/extract.html

The one that has interesting potential is sonochemistry or the use of ultrasonics to cavitate liquid near the cell walls, causing their collapse. Cavitation can produce some remarkable effects in liquids and should be pursued for this purpose.

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