Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spotlight on Origin Oil, Inc. Algal Biofuels

Origin Oil, Inc., aims to achieve breakthroughs in algal growth, harvesting, and separation of oils from biomass. Their scalable growth system is pictured above.The colorgul image above shows Origin's helix bioreactor which allows the uniform penetration of light throughout the algae culture.Origin's "cascading production" system allows continuous harvesting from the bioreactor for continuous oil production.Origin's "Quantum Fracturing" process involves the introduction of tiny pores through the algal membranes, to allow the extraction of oil from the algal biomass. The oils float to the top of solution and the biomass sinks to the bottom, for easy separation.
A dramatic time-lapse video posted today at begins with a batch of algae that has just gone through OriginOil’s process. In less than an hour, the oil, water and biomass separate by gravity alone. Unlike conventional systems, no chemicals or heavy machinery are used in this single-step process, and no initial dewatering is required.

“Throughout the world, algae production is becoming a fact, but it still has to be harvested efficiently,” said Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginOil. “Our breakthrough technology accomplishes key parts of the harvesting process in a single, cost-effective step. We are planning to make our new technology available to our fast-growing industry.” _OriginPressRelease
For algal biofuels to become economical, the problems of efficient growth, harvesting, separation of oils, and refinement to fuels, all must be solved with orders of magnitude improvement in costs. Origin Oil is just one of the companies and labs working on the problem.



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