Australia-based MBD Energy Limited has become Origin Oil’s first algae-producing customer. Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, is a cornerstone investor in MBD Energy.
The parties recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a multi-phase commercialization program under which OriginOil will supply MBD Energy with its Quantum Fracturing and Single-Step Extraction systems. (Earlier post.)
Three of Australia’s largest coal-fired power generators have committed to building test facilities adjacent to their power stations using MBD’s proprietary growth system, the Algae Synthesizer, where smoke-stack CO2 emissions are captured and used to grow oil-rich algae in solar bioreactors. In the full production systems, OriginOil’s technology will be integrated into the MBD system to enhance algae growth and perform oil extraction.
In the initial phase, OriginOil will equip MBD Energy’s research and development facility at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, where testing will take place. The two companies agreed that, subject to the success of the initial test phase, MBD will purchase significantly larger feeding and OriginOil extraction units to serve facilities planned for its three Algal Synthesiser power station projects in Australia: Tarong Energy (Queensland), Loy Yang A (Victoria) and Eraring Energy (New South Wales).
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh officially opened MBD’s expanded R&D facility in November 2009. The Queensland Premier also announced that MBD would shortly commence construction of a one-hectare pilot plant at South Eastern Queensland’s Tarong Power Station. The trial aims to capture 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and, if successful, could expand over the next 5 to 10 years to consume more than half of Tarong’s problem flue-gas emissions.
MBD’s Andrew Lawson said that each of the three current MBD power station projects has the potential to then grow to 80-hectare commercial plants, each capable of producing 11 million liters (2.9 million gallons US) of oil for plastics and transport fuel, and 25,000 tonnes of drought-proof animal feed annually. He said that the projects will eventually consume more than half of each of the power station’s problem flue-gas emissions.