Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc., North America’s fourth largest ethanol producer, and BioProcess Algae LLC today announced plans for Phase II of its Grower Harvester™ algae project located at Green Plains’ Shenandoah, Iowa ethanol plant. Construction on Phase II is set to begin in the next two weeks with plans to scale the technology 20 times larger than the initial Phase I of the project.
“During Phase I, BioProcessAlgae has successfully demonstrated the scalability of the technology with a 40 times increase in growing volume from bench scale reactors to an industrial setting at our ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa,” said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy. “We have experienced 100% uptime since inoculation in October 2009 and continue to harvest algae on a daily basis. With the positive results we have achieved in Phase I, we will commit additional resources and expertise to rapidly build the next phase of this exciting project. Our vision remains the same of providing a solution to sequestering industrial carbon dioxide while producing a high quality feedstock for fuel and feed.”
“We are seeing good carbon dioxide to algae conversion rates and solid productivity from our Grower Harvester technology,” stated Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcess Algae, LLC. “Phase II will build on Phase I efforts to optimize growth of algae in our reactors through improved utilization of light, more efficient carbon dioxide absorption and enhanced dewatering and water re-use. Phase II will also allow for robust verification of growth rates, energy balances, and operating expenses, which we consider to be some of the key steps to commercialization.”
“We are also excited to announce that the Iowa Power Fund Board of Directors has unanimously voted in favor of awarding the project an additional $2.0 million matching grant subject to final negotiations,” added Becker. “This is the first time that the fund has participated in a second round of funding and we truly appreciate the vision and commitment of the Iowa Power Fund and the leadership of Iowa Governor Chet Culver. If we achieve our goal of commercializing this technology, it will not only bring jobs to the State of Iowa, it will put Iowa on the cutting edge of providing a high quality feedstock to potentially reduce our country’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.”
BioProcess Algae’s Phase II facility will be co-located with the Shenandoah ethanol plant and linked to the plant’s carbon dioxide and waste heat for its feedstock. The expansion is expected to cost $4.5 million and is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2010. The cost of the Phase II project will be shared by the joint venture partners and the matching grant provided by the Iowa Power Fund.