RAE, ABB collaborate to build integrated algal production systems

By Ron Kotrba | August 01, 2014

Power and automation technology group ABB is collaborating with Renewable Algal Energy LLC for commercialization of integrated algal production systems that will produce algaeā€based products for the nutraceutical, animal nutrition and renewable fuels markets. The OEM systems were developed and tested at RAE’s facility in Tucson, Ariz. The first commercial application is scheduled to be operating by the end of the year.

“We are honored that ABB has selected to work with RAE in the development of infrastructure for RAE’s unique technology in complete integrated algal production systems,” stated Jeffrey S. Kanel, CEO of RAE. “To have the global leader in power and automation technologies as a strategic partner is a huge endorsement of RAE’s ability to commercialize our technology in the creation of sustainable algal products.”

RAE will produce the equipment that harvest and extract algae and its coproducts, including oil for renewable fuels and proteins and carotenoids for animal feed and nutritional supplements. The scalable systems are designed for medium- to large-scale algae farms up to 2,000 hectares. ABB stated it will supply 800xA control systems, instrumentation, low voltage electrical equipment and variable speed drives to help the algal production systems operate efficiently and reliably. In addition to process control, 800xA provides remote access to the base control room on each algae farm, the company said, so that multiple locations can be viewed and managed by one operator. The variable speed drives help the pumps and motors operate at their peak energy efficiency, using up to 10 percent less electricity.

“This solution offers a low cost, efficient process for the harvesting and extraction of algae and its co-products including oil.” said Tobias Becker, head of control technologies at ABB. “The process efficiencies achieved with ABB’s and RAE’s technologies make the production of sustainable fuels and nutrients an economically feasible business activity.”


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