The listed company Algae.Tec has focused on an altogether different system: an enclosed, modular and scalable system that can be housed in a modified shipping container.

The first such container was officially opened yesterday at Manildra’s ethanol refinery near Nowra, in southern NSW, the result of a collaboration started when Manildra’s chairman Dick Honan heard Algae.Tec’s technology discussed on the radio. Its photobioreactors use solar power and the emissions from the refinery’s fermentation unit as a feedstock. The process is reasonably well established, but the key to the project is to see if the company can meet its targeted yield — which is 250 tonnes of algae a year per container.

If that can be delivered and verified, the company is hopeful of striking commercial deals with potential partners in NSW — in Nowra and the Hunter Valley — as well as in Brazil, India, China and the US. The company says a 2000 module facility would generate $350 million worth of fuel a year and create up to 700 jobs, about the same number being made redundant by the recent closures of oil refineries. Read More

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