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A first step towards having algae as a new source of transport fuel was launched today at Manildra’s Shoalhaven ethanol plant at Nowra, NSW.

The algae-to-biofuels “showcase” plant will draw carbon dioxide from ethanol fermentation and run it through an enclosed system developed by Australian company Algae-Tec to feed algae growth at an industrial scale.

The Algae-Tec system uses shipping containers as an algae production module, with one shipping container – the initial size of the Shoalhaven showcase system – capable of producing 250 tonnes of algae a year.

“The rest is plumbing,” said Algae-Tec’s executive chairman, Roger Stroud.

Mr Stroud said a commercial operation would start at around 400 containers, and from there could be built up to an optimum size at 2000 containers.

At that scale, Mr Stroud estimates that an Algae-Tec plant would be capable of producing 500,000 tonnes of feedstock, or 3.5 million barrels of refinable oil a year. Read More

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

Algae.Tec held a grand opening for its algae-to-biofuel plant in New South Wales, Australia, on Aug 2., a facility that the company said is the first of its kind in the country. Read More

Among those attending the event was the state’s Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher, who activated the hi-tech lighting system that is supposed to deliver super yield capabilities.

The facility, dubbed Shoalhaven One, is located at Norwa, south of Sydney. It is based on the technology of Algae.Tec, a 2007-founded Australian advanced renewable oil from algae company. It describes its McConchie-Stroud System as a high-yield, enclosed algae growth and harvesting system that’s designed to grow non-GMO algae on an industrial scale to produce biofuels.

The showcase facility utilizes the Manildra Group’s—a flour-based food production company that is also one of the country’s largest ethanol producers—waste carbon dioxide for the algae growth process.

Algae.Tec, which also has offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Perth, Western Australia, said that leading inspection, verification, testing and certification services company SGS will now undertake the third-party yield validation process.

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