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Algenol and Reliance launch algae fuels demonstration project in India

Algenol and Reliance Industries Ltd., have successfully deployed India’s first Algenol algae production platform. The demonstration module is located near the Reliance Jamnagar Refinery, the world’s largest. The demonstration has completed several production cycles of Algenol’s wildtype host algae, but ultimately could demonstrate the fuels production capabilities of Algenol’s advanced fuel producing algae and systems. Th

The Algenol fuel production process is designed to convert 1 tonne of CO2 into 144 gallons of fuel while recycling CO2 from industrial processes and converting 85% of the CO2 used into ethanol, gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. The advanced fuel producing algae technology is successfully operating at Algenol’s Fort Myers, Florida headquarters.

The initial project start-up and smooth transition begins to prove the viability of our technology in varying environments across the globe and the ability of partners to operate our production systems without Algenol’s day-to-day involvement.

—Paul Woods, Founder and CEO of Algenol

Construction of the system was completed in November of 2014 by Algenol and Reliance engineers and biologists. Shake-down runs and systems tests have been completed and several successful batches of algae have been grown. At this time, day-to-day operations of the project are managed solely by Reliance Industries Ltd., after Algenol provided training and operational support.

The relationship between Reliance Industries Ltd., and Algenol is not new, as Reliance has been a strategic investor in Algenol’s technology since June 2011.

Algenol’s patented technology enables the production of ethanol, gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel for around $1.30 per gallon each using proprietary algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater at production levels of 8,000 total gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year.

In the Algenol direct-to-ethanol (DTE) process, ethanol is produced from photosynthetically-produced pyruvate, and secreted by the cyanobacteria into the surrounding aqueous media. It is then isolated and purified, while the algal biomass is processed to extract and produce a bio-oil co-product.

The algal bio-oil can be used to produce biodiesel, renewable diesel, or other bio-oil-derived products. Spent algal biomass is gasified to produce bio-methane that is used onsite in a combined heat and powerunit.

India is the world’s third largest producer of CO2 and the facility’s ethanol and renewable crude oil production could help meet demand for energy in the country as well as help to reduce green house emissions from carbon dioxide.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved ethanol made from Algenol’s process as an advanced biofuel, meeting the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Algenol’s ethanol, produced by photosynthetic cyanobacteria, is now eligible for a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) under the D5 classification. (Earlier post.)

As part of this approval, the EPA determined that ethanol produced from the Algenol Direct to Ethanol (DTE) process resulted in an approximate 69% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to gasoline.

The use of saltwater rather than freshwater is a key advantage for India, which has incurred serious droughts in the past and faces significant demand for fresh water. The project is currently using saltwater from the Arabian Sea.



Makes you wonder, words like "$1.30 per gallon" resonate pretty well with me. That's about the wholesale price of gas now... if used to treat human waste streams (like feces and CO2 from other sources) it could mean ICE has just found life support.

If fuel standards bring us to PHEVs, its safe to say algae and other waste cellulous systems could probably support most our petroleum needs...

8,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year... That's enough for 17 people per acre. (or like 60 people with decent PHEV's). We could have floating algae farms in the middle of the ocean, lots of real-estate.

Though I would rather see farmers/ businesses pursue waste to liquid fuels first, rather than taking up real-estate ocean or otherwise. Making best of things we already use would make sense first.


If $1.30/gallon is "enabled" where is it happening?  This should be a license to print money.  There ought to be no need for press releases on anything except contracts for sales of bio-fuel and deliveries.

Show me the money.


I agree with EP. It seems too good to be true, however I recall that last summer there were stories in the media, including the Washington Post about Algenol being cyber-attacked by hackers; presumably state sponsored Chinese. Either it was company hype or there was really something of interest? Could be either or both. If the technology is legit then I'm sure it will put a low cap on the price of oil and the debate between hydrogen and electricity may need to be put on hold.


"Spent algal biomass is gasified to produce bio-methane that is used onsite in a combined heat and powerunit." - good


1.30/gal is about $1.50-2.00 retail... Yeah if this fixes gasoline prices then we may be stuck with Gasoline cars for a long while. It's not all bad, we can practically stop importing fossil fuels, and the fuels we do utilize will put significantly less co2 in the environment. If it stays around $2 retail, this will be a better source of energy than traditional fossil fuels, based on price.
This and other cellulosic ventures will keep the ceiling on gas low for quite some time... And if they are as efficient as they say, it may put an end to drilling wells or even operating the wells we do have.


I want to buy their fuels for my car, please invest in a plant near where I live. At 1.30 gallon it can compete petrol for life and it can go lower than 1.30 gallon over the long run with method improvement and economy of scale. I want a price war where each day the price of gas is declining at the pump and each time I fill-up I save more and more, lol.

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