Increasing Demand A Big Theme at Algae Biomass Summit
The first day of the 2013 Algae Biomass Summit left a buzz in the halls about the pace of advances in demand, production and technology in the algae industry. You can monitor what’s going on and see a few pictures that attendees are posting on twitter with the hashtag #ABS13.
Biofuels Digest covered exciting news from Algenol on their production and competitive prices (75 cents below market), and ABO issued a press release this morning that details some of the other developments:
Speaking to a packed conference hall, executives from Algenol, Sapphire Energy, Cellana, BioProcess Algae, Heliae, Algix and Aurora Algae all emphasized scaling up production as the industry’s next major priority as it begins to provide algae-derived fuels and a wide range of other products to worldwide markets. Matt Horton, CEO of alternative fuel retailer Propel Fuels, showcased research results demonstrating consumer preference for algae-based fuels.
Paul Woods, CEO of Florida-based Algenol Biofuels, unveiled a new vertical bioreactor design that has allowed the company to achieve algae-to-ethanol production capacities in excess of 10,000 gallons per acre at competitive prices. Algenol also uses its algae to produce renewable jet fuel, diesel and gasoline. The company expects that the new system, based on simple, easy to set up photobioreactors growing algae in seawater, will enable a rapid expansion to commercial production.
“As fast as people can put up the bags, I can fill them with algae,” said Woods.
Algenol and Sapphire Energy both expect to meet production capacities in excess of one million gallons within the next year. That milestone was acknowledged as just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the industry’s goal of supplying markets with meaningful quantities of sustainable, renewable fuels derived from algae.
“A million barrels is a significant milestone but it’s only the beginning of what’s required,” said CJ Warner, Sapphire Energy’s CEO & Chairman, who reported on Sapphire’s success in the past year in bringing its pilot scale facility online, and announced they are selecting a site for a full production scale facility.
Beyond fuels, the ability of algae to be a source of fertilizers, feeds, plastics, and nutraceuticals was the subject of updates from executives at Cellana, BioProcess Algae, Heliae, Algix, and Aurora Algae. Algix, a Georgia-based company producing a range of algae-derived plastics, was among the companies expressing a growing interest in purchasing large quantities of algae from producers.
“We brought our checkbook and we’re taking orders,” said Michael VanDrunen, President and CEO of Algix.
Today’s agenda includes a number of updates from leaders in the industry. The day is just getting started so stay tuned for updates.
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