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OriginOil lands first order for industrial-scale algae oil extraction system; Bio-CCS

OriginOil, Inc. has received the first commercial order to deploy its algae oil extraction system in an industrial setting. MBD Energy (MBD) recently committed to purchase an initial OriginOil extraction unit for piloting at one of Australia’s three largest coal-fired power plants. (Earlier post.) MBD Energy expects OriginOil technology to support a pilot Bio-CCS (Bio-based Carbon Capture and Storage) algal synthesizer system at Queensland’s Tarong Power Station.

The proof of concept phase on a one-hectare site, scheduled for later this year, will use concentrated CO2 emissions to produce oil-rich algae in MBD’s proprietary growth membranes. OriginOil’s extraction technology will be used to harvest the algae oil and biomass.

This first extraction system will support early testing at the Tarong site. A much larger unit is intended to replace it later this year to process up to 300 gallons per minute (300 gpm) of algae culture for the one-hectare pilot site, at which point the first unit will be deployed at the next power station pilot site, and so on. Together, the recently-committed initial unit and the full system for the Tarong proof-of-concept site, if approved, may generate as much as US$1 million in product and service sales for OriginOil.

—Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginOil

Subject to successful trials and mutual agreement with its power station partners, MBD said each project at Australia’s three largest coal-fired power stations has the potential to grow from an initial one hectare (2.47 acre) proof of concept facility to become fully commercial facilities.

Each facility would then be capable of consuming significant amounts of CO2 and producing commercial quantities of high-value oil suitable for manufacture of transport fuel and plastics.

We are excited to be building a pilot facility that uses the power station’s CO2-laden flue-gas to feed a Bio-CCS algal synthesizer. We expect this to serve as proof of concept for a larger, second stage facility of up to 80 hectares (197 acres) and possibly a much larger third stage project after that.

—Andrew Lawson, Managing Director of MBD Energy, Ltd.

MBD estimated that subject to performance at the 80 hectare level and mutual agreements, each Stage 3 full-scale production facility has the potential to grow to 1600 hectares (3,900 acres) and could produce around 300 million liters (over 79 million gallons) of transport (or plastics) oil per year, as well as other valuable commodities, and consume, at full scale, more than half of each power station’s CO2 emissions.

OriginOil and MBD recently entered into a strategic agreement protecting OriginOil’s intellectual property for demonstration projects and granting mutual marketing rights.



'Clean coal' seems an oxymoron, but if the OriginOil process works economically it could solve a lot of problems.


Even scaled up to the 3,900 acre size they can only make about 2 million barrels/year. And, it requires a coal plant. The U.S. uses something like 20 million barrels/day.
Certainly improvements will come but there's a long way to go.

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