OriginOil is proving its next-generation technology to greatly enhance algae biomass harvesting and oil extraction. This allows scalable industrialization to make algae a high-yield, cost-competitive replacement for petroleum.
By focusing on the “midstream”, OriginOil is addressing the most important bottleneck in commercial algae production.
Renewable Crude Oil from Algae
Now, to help algae growers make crude oil right at the point of production, we are developing an integrated system to create renewable crude oil that existing refineries can process.
OriginOil’s planned Biocrude System™ will integrate its own harvesting system with state-of-the-art biomass processing technology being developed under the recently-announced research agreement with INL, to convert raw algae into barrels of renewable crude oil.
This much cleaner replacement for conventional petroleum will be designed to be compatible with conventional petroleum refineries. Renewable algae crude could also be blended with other biomass sources to improve their performance.
There are three primary challenges to cost-effective algae production:
- Algae grow suspended in large volumes of water. Using conventional methods, a mature algae culture must be concentrated before oil can be extracted from each cell. This de-watering stage is energy-intensive, and typically requires chemical additives and expensive capital equipment.
- Algae are protected by a tough cell wall. That wall must be cracked – an energy-intensive process – to extract the oil. The challenge is to maximize oil yield by ‘cracking’ as many of the algae cells as possible with the smallest amount of energy.
- Algae production is an energy-intensive process. In order to achieve economic viability, it is critical that energy is recovered in every possible way. In addition to oil and biomass, algae produce valuable gases, including hydrogen. These must be harvested to achieve the best possible energy balance.
OriginOil’s suite of patent-pending technologies and process innovations intends to address these specific challenges.
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