Green Star reports Phase III algae results

By Jerry W. Kram | June 17, 2008
Green Star Products Inc. has released a technical report on its 40,000-liter (10,566-gallon) demonstration facility in Montana. The company operated the facility through the summer and winter of 2007-'08. The third and final stage of the project gave the California-based company experience in operating the facility in summer and winter conditions.
Furthermore, Green Star and its consortium partner Biotech Research Inc. announced they will move their existing microalgae laboratory at the UABC University in Ensenada, Mexico, to Utah in preparation for the development of a commercial-scale algae production facility in that state.

Green Star calls its pilot facility a hybrid algae production system (HAPS). It's basically a covered pond system that combines the controlled environment of a photobioreactor with the lower costs of an open-pond system. Phase III of the demonstration trial showed the process was robust enough to continue producing algae even when outdoor temperatures were as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit and snowfalls measured 14 inches. The production of algae was reduced because of shorter daylight hours and cooler water temperatures.

However, the report stated the experience will allow significantly improved cold-weather production for its next-generation system, which at press time was scheduled to start production by the end of 2008. For example, exhaust from an electrical generator was used to not only warm the water in the system but also provide carbon dioxide as a nutrient to enhance the growth of the algae.

Phase I of the trial focused on controlling the environmental conditions in the HAPS facility. The most important parameters were found to be light control, temperature and salinity. The tested algae species were found to grow best under 25 percent to 50 percent direct sunlight. The HAPS includes a light barrier to provide the optimal level of sunlight.

Inexpensive controls maintained a constant temperature even though the outdoor temperature varied from 30 degrees to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The enclosed design of the HAPS limits evaporation, minimizing problems in controlling salinity. "In summary, [Green Star] has already addressed the main causes of failures in other systems," the report concluded.

Phase II of the project demonstrated that the HAPS could sustain an acceptable level of algae production. Using a strain of algae that the company calls ZX-13, the system was allowed to go to environmental extremes to test the limits of the algae's productivity. The ZX-13 strain survived temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours and salinity levels outside normal operating conditions, doubling its population between 1.5 and four times per day. The harvested algae had an oil content of 21 percent, which the report described as "acceptable." The report didn't mention the level of production or operating costs of the facility.

Green Star licensed the HAPS technology from Biotech Research. The Ensenada algae biotechnology team will be moving to the new expanded facilities in Utah to support the commercial algae production facility scheduled to go into operation sometime in 2008 or 2009. The Ensenada lab has been responsible for developing commercial algae strains for biodiesel production and high-protein algae biomass for food use. The Ensenada facility also developed algae harvesting and production techniques. The new lab will also be supported by other universities, consortium partners and industrial technology companies.
Array ( [REDIRECT_REDIRECT_STATUS] => 200 [REDIRECT_STATUS] => 200 [HTTP_USER_AGENT] => CCBot/2.0 ( [HTTP_ACCEPT] => text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 [HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE] => Tue, 25 Sep 2018 23:01:30 KRAT [HTTP_HOST] => [HTTP_CONNECTION] => Keep-Alive [HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING] => gzip [PATH] => /sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin [SERVER_SIGNATURE] =>
Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) Server at Port 80
[SERVER_SOFTWARE] => Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) [SERVER_NAME] => [SERVER_ADDR] => [SERVER_PORT] => 80 [REMOTE_ADDR] => [DOCUMENT_ROOT] => /datadrive/websites/ [SERVER_ADMIN] => [SCRIPT_FILENAME] => /datadrive/websites/ [REMOTE_PORT] => 36584 [REDIRECT_QUERY_STRING] => url=articles/2445/green-star-reports-phase-iii-algae-results [REDIRECT_URL] => /app/webroot/articles/2445/green-star-reports-phase-iii-algae-results [GATEWAY_INTERFACE] => CGI/1.1 [SERVER_PROTOCOL] => HTTP/1.1 [REQUEST_METHOD] => GET [QUERY_STRING] => url=articles/2445/green-star-reports-phase-iii-algae-results [REQUEST_URI] => /articles/2445/green-star-reports-phase-iii-algae-results [SCRIPT_NAME] => /app/webroot/index.php [PHP_SELF] => /app/webroot/index.php [REQUEST_TIME_FLOAT] => 1545079061.357 [REQUEST_TIME] => 1545079061 )