Taming Wild Algae: Aquaflow and UOP Join Forces

Aquaflow Bionomic today announced a partnership with UOP, a subsidiary of Honeywell, to process algae harvested from open-air sludge ponds and waste streams into high-quality fuels. In an emailed release, the companies say they will also look into sequestering carbon dioxide in ponds to boost algae output.

This is a big partner for the young, fast-moving New Zealand-based startup. UOP has years of experience in the petro-chemcial refining business but has been moving into biofuels in earnest recently. UOP launched its Renewable Energy & Chemicals business in 2006. Since then, UOP formed a joint venture with bio-oil veteran Ensyn, created the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group with Boeing and recently picked up $1.5 million from the DOE to work on pyrolysis oil development from biomass.

Founded in 2005, Aquaflow raised funding through a public offering on the New Zealand Exchange at the end of the 2006 and in 2007 built its first prototype plant. Unlike many other startups working in controlled vats, Aquaflow says its free-range algae farming will save money on facilities. Just last month Aquaflow said that it had produced its first samples of “green crude,” which the company says can be dropped into existing refineries to be made into fuel. (That’s where UOP comes in.)

Besides tapping UOP’s refining experience, Aquaflow plans to work with the industrial giant to study the feasibility of sequestering carbon dioxide from a refinery or power plant in an algae pond, hopefully boosting the algal output. Hawaiian HR BioPetroleum signed an agreement with a local utility to test this idea; under the agreement HR plans to build an algae-to-fuel plant next to a power plant and use the emissions to make the tiny plants grow.

Image courtesy of Aquaflow Bionomics.

Source: Energy News