Thursday, June 05, 2008

Helix BioReactor Algae from Origin Oil

Origin Oil, Inc. has filed for multiple patents to improve the growth and extraction of oil from algae.
This system will allow both horizontal and vertical “stacking” of many Helix BioReactors™ — OriginOil’s patent-pending system to enhance and optimize algae growth — into an integrated network of fully automated, portable, and remotely monitored growth units.

“OriginOil’s system addresses two key areas: growth of the algae and extraction of the oil,” said Nicholas Eckelberry, OriginOil’s director of development and an inventor of the Transportable Modular Photo Bioreactor. “By using a modular design, we can connect a large number of Helix BioReactors to a small number of extraction units to achieve economies of scale and higher production of algae oil.” __Origin__via__Gas2
Origin's Helix BioReactors involve immersing a helical light-bearing rotor into the growth medium, which provides light energy in multiple layers deep within the algae.
"The key to dependable, high algae yield is continuous lighting of multiple growth planes," said Nicholas Eckelberry, Director of Development and an inventor of the Helix Bioreactor. "In a natural pond, the sun only illuminates one growth plane, down to about half an inch below the surface. In contrast, the Helix Bioreactor features a rotating vertical shaft with very low energy lights arranged in a helix or spiral pattern, which results in a theoretically unlimited number of layers. Additionally, each lighting element is engineered to produce specific light waves and frequencies for optimal algae growth. By giving algae only the light it needs, throughout the growth tank, all of the time, we're growing algae quickly and cost-effectively." __Origin
In addition, Origin has introduced other innovations into its algae oil process.
1.Algae growth is dependent on a calm fluid environment; it does not like agitation. One of the primary challenges is how to optimally introduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and nutrients needed by the growing algae culture without disrupting or over-aerating it.

2.Algae requires light as a source of energy to fuel its growth and oil production facilities. Algae cultivation systems need to cost-effectively and evenly distribute light within the algae culture.

3.Algae organisms are protected by a tough cell wall. That wall must be cracked – an energy-expensive process – to extract the oil. The challenge is to maximize oil yield by cracking as many of the algae cells as possible with the smallest amount of energy... OriginOil’s patent-pending technology, based on the science of mass transfer and fluid fracturing, addresses these specific challenges. We call this breakthrough technology Quantum Fracturing™. This technology is central to OriginOil’s proprietary algae oil production system. __Origin
Up until recently, the production costs for algal biodiesel have approached $20 per gallon. As various innovations are applied to the process of algal biodiesel production, production prices will eventually be reduced to economical levels.

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