Honda to Show Hybrid and Battery-Electric Vehicle Concepts at Tokyo Motor Show; CR-Z Concept 2009
Gevo Biobutanol Retrofit Plant Starts Up; Gevo Launches Development Company to Retrofit Ethanol Plants

OriginOil Announces New Algae Growth System for Use in Wastewater Facilities

OriginOil, Inc., the developer of a new extraction process for algae oil (earlier post), has developed a new production system using a type of algae that attaches itself to growth surfaces. The new system helps pursue clean water goals while generating algae for fuel and other valuable products in wastewater treatment plants.

Previous attempts at using surface-mounted algae were not very scalable. OriginOil’s Attached Growth System delivers scalability and throughput in an industrial process that delivers light more efficiently to grow algae for fuel and helps process wastewater at the same time.

—OriginOil CEO Riggs Eckelberry

The company recently filed for patent protection of the new Attached Growth System, its ninth patent application, entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Growing Algae on a Solid Surface.” OriginOil will integrate the process into the demonstration algae system now being built at its headquarters.

Growing algae in water is a challenge because as it grows, the algae thickens and stops light. One solution is OriginOil’s Helix Bioreactor which puts the lights inside the tank. (Earlier post.) Another method is to rotate the algae periodically out of the water so it can be exposed to the light. OriginOil’s Attached Growth System uses types of algae that will attach to surfaces rotating in and out of the water, exposing the algae to sunlight or artificial light. At harvest time, the algae is scraped off as a sludge, greatly decreasing the energy cost of dewatering during oil extraction.

In wastewater treatment plants, OriginOil’s Attached Growth System can be configured to encourage bacterial growth in addition to the algae. Combining algal and bacterial growth makes for better nutrient extraction than either one of them alone, contributing to clean water goals while making fuel and absorbing CO2.


Henry Gibson

No matter how hard we wish, the sunlight that hits the earth provides only about one kilowatt per square meter. We will always have the expense of providing some collection device that covers this area. The low efficiency of solar energy conversion equipment compounds this problem. ..HG..



Common direct solar energy collectors efficiency is going up and approaching 30%. If the inital cost could be reduced from about $4/Watt to $1/Watt or less, sunny areas (i.e. many parts of USA) could get all the clean power required from that one sustainable source.

Roof tops and desert land areas could supply many times the energy required with current 30% efficiency panels.

Efficent e-storage devices have to be developed. Many parts of Canada (and other countries) could use Hydro water reservoirs for that purpose. Use Sun power when the sun is there and Hydro or Wind or NG power plants for the rest of the time and to meet peak demands.

The comments to this entry are closed.