The algae industry is suffering through a severe case of separation anxiety. Certainly, the industry is working through the challenge of growing algae efficiently, reliably and at scale. But a more daunting challenge awaits them: Once you have a batch of algae, how do you efficiently and economically get the oil out?
To date, the industry’s inability to substantiate cost-effective algal oil production has clouded the credibility of algae as a viable crop. Quantification of oil production remains problematic; the majority of algae growers lack oil production equipment or the ability to assess the sustainability of oil production.
OpenAlgae has the answer.
Processing algae onsite, cost-effectively
- Algae is more than 99% water
- Moving water is costly and inefficient
- OpenAlgae has an onsite, proprietary solution to validate and enable oil production
The traditional methods for extracting oil from seeds are generally ineffective at the nanometer scale of algae cells. Instead, extracting oil from algae typically involves drying the algae, breaking down the cell walls with a solvent, then removing the solvent and biomass to leave behind the oil.
These expensive, environmentally unsound alternatives are not viable for large-scale fuel production, as they use hazardous solvents, move large amounts of water and expend more energy than they produce.
Algae as a crop offers re-use of both wastewater and CO2 emissions, but algae is not processed cost-effectively with traditional centrifuge, ball mill, pressurization or sonification approaches. Our onsite technologies offer the possibility of minimizing water use, mitigating CO2emissions, and lessening dependence on fossil fuels with particular focus on remote and rural growing locations.
Algae growers today have drying and harvesting methods that are economical only when applied to high-value uses such as infant formula and food additives. Those seeking to utilize algae for biofuel need cost-effective processes to make algal oil a reality.
By utilizing our transportable processing unit and related analytical tools, any entity growing algae can improve production of biomass and assess more completely how algae could be economically viable given the location’s constraints and resources.