Heliae starts up next-gen commercial algae facility in Ariz.
Algae production technology developer Heliae announced it has begun operations at its first commercial facility in Gilbert, Ariz. Utilizing the company's flexible Volaris platform, the commercial facility will initially produce high-value algae products for nutraceutical and personal care products. The startup represents the first phase of Heliae's Gilbert plant, with further expansion slated for late 2014. Purchase agreements are already in place with customers for the products produced from this facility.
“The startup of this plant represents a significant milestone for Heliae, but it's just the beginning,” said Dan Simon, president and CEO of Heliae. “We are now demonstrating both the scalability of our technology platform and the economics of our approach. This step unlocks a robust pipeline of international projects that will allow us to further expand our footprint globally.”
Heliae's flexible Volaris platform combines the best of existing algae production models, utilizing both sunlight and low-cost carbon feedstocks to optimize output. Volaris is a mixotrophic algae production platform, a hybrid of known phototrophic and heterotrophic models, which decreases capital costs, improves contamination control and increases productivity and product optionality. With the ability to tailor the Volaris production platform for specific algae strains and target products, Heliae's commercial facility will showcase flexibility to produce a range of products and ingredients for multiple markets, all on one site.
The company's investors include select members of the Mars family, the global conglomerate Salim Group, through one of its subsidiaries, Agri Investments Pte Ltd, and Thomas J. Edelman.
“With this facility, Heliae is delivering on the vision that was outlined almost six years ago,” said Frank Mars, co-founder and chairman of the board at Heliae. “This milestone would not have been possible without the dedicated and focused efforts of our team, as well as the continued support of our local partners, including Science Foundation Arizona, Arizona State University, and the Town of Gilbert. Since founding Heliae, the goal has always been to identify and scale world-class technology that will unlock the value of algae for a range of industries. With this new facility now up and running, we are well on our way.”