OriginOil, INL to develop direct conversion of algae into bio-oil

By Bryan Sims | January 23, 2012

Los Angeles-based algae technology developer and provider OriginOil Inc. and the U.S. DOE’s Idaho National Lab have announced plans to co-develop an integrated system for direct conversion of algae into renewable crude oil that can be further refined into a host of advanced biofuels and other biobased chemicals by existing petroleum refineries.

Specifically, OriginOil’s planned algae conversion system, trademarked the Biocrude System, will integrate its own harvesting system with state-of-the-art biomass processing technology that’s being developed under a recently announced research agreement with INL, to convert raw algae into barrels of renewable crude oil.

“We believe this is a major breakthrough for OriginOil and a major step forward for the algae industry,” said Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginOil. “We already lead the industry with our chemical-free, low-energy, continuous high-flow harvesting system. From there it’s a natural step to helping algae growers make a direct crude oil replacement right on site, giving them direct access to the existing world market for transportation fuels, including jet fuel.”

In December, OriginOil and INL reached an agreement to collaborate on the goal of establishing industry standards for algal biomass while leveraging INL’s process demonstration facility in Idaho Falls, which boasts advanced biofuels processing capabilities and equipment, including biochemical, thermochemical and other downstream conversion technologies.

The announcement to develop direct conversion technology of algae into renewable crude oil also follows on the heels of OriginOil and INL executing a new joint venture together with OriginOil’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Alternative Energy Systems Pty. Ltd., called Future Energy Solutions Unlimited Inc., which aims to carry out bankable feasibility studies in support of developing and deploying biorefineries in strategic locations around the world that serve the U.S. and NATO military requirements for the production of advanced biofuels and other bioproducts.

“We are excited to work with OriginOil on its Biocrude System and leverage its algae processing expertise and technology,” commented Deborah Newby, project manager at INL. “Algae is a high-energy biomass and can function as a force multiplier to blend in other biomass waste such as from forestry and agriculture into a uniform renewable crude oil substitute. This may well support the U.S. military’s strategic fuels diversification program.”



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