Recent comments from Andrew Ayers, Founder and CEO of Algae Biosciences Inc.

One of the many benefits of growing algae for biofuels, bioproducts, etc. is that there are different species that can grow in almost any kind of water, be it saltwater, wastewater, or freshwater. Companies have been utilizing this fact by focusing on how they can use water sources other than freshwater for their production systems. Algae Biosciences Inc. (AlgaeBio) is one of those companies and is utilizing brine water located in underground aquifers. Andrew Ayers, the founder and CEO of AlgaeBio answered some questions I had about their company and their process.

1. What are the levels of salt in the brine water you utilize in your process versus saltwater?

AA: Because an underwater salt dome interacts with the Coconino Aquifer in close proximity to AlgaeBio’s production facilities, AlgaeBio can adjust the saline content of its water simply by drawing it from a different underground depth. Generally speaking, the greater the depth of the source, the higher the saline content in the source water. It is a simple process for us to adjust the salinity to fit the specific growing conditions we require.

2. Could your process use marine saltwater?

AA: Yes, but AlgaeBio enjoys a distinct purity-of-product advantage over competitors growing algae in saltwater taken from the ocean or high-saline lakes or rivers. Those sources include contaminants, which make resulting nutritional products less valuable on the international market. AlgaeBio’s products for the nutraceutical, food additive, and pharmaceutical industries are remarkably pure, because of our pristine saltwater source.

3. How many brine aquifers like the one you use are in the U.S.? the world?

AA: There are only several known brine aquifers in the United States or elsewhere in the world — and none that we know of that contain pristinely pure brine water, and which are located in a sun belt. U.S. Patent No. 6,986,323 restricts the use of the Coconino Aquifer, and other inland saline aquifers throughout the U.S., to AlgaeBio or licencees of its choosing for the culture of algae, and any and all other marine species, using our methods and systems.

4. Is your process dependent on brine aquifers only?

AA: Having pure saltwater as a growth medium gives AlgaeBio the strategic advantage of potentially developing and growing a far wider variety of algae strains than would be possible using non-saline water. And this means AlgaeBio can engineer and produce a far greater array of ultra-pure products for the nutraceutical, food additive, pharmaceutical, and biofuel markets.

Nevertheless, our process systems could also be used to cultivate, harvest, and extract valuable commodities from fresh water-grown algae.

5. What do you do with your wastewater or the water that has accumulated too high of levels of salt to grow algae?

AA: As mentioned earlier, we can easily manage the salinity of the water we use in the growing process. When we have extracted all of the valuable micronutrients from the water, after several growth cycles, we evaporate the residual water and collect the residual salt for sale and use as road or water-softening salt.

6. What are the costs of producing algae in your bioreactor?

AA: AlgaeBio’s production costs are substantially less than those incurred by our biggest competitors, and there are multiple reasons for this. AlgaeBio uses free, plentiful sunlight and free, unlimited, pristine water to grow its ultra-pure marine algae; there’s no cost associated with removing contaminants from the water, because none exist.

7. Why are you mainly focusing on Omega-3 production over biofuels?

AA: The production of omega-3 fatty acid oils is merely a launching pad for AlgaeBio. Some years ago, we originally considered growing and harvesting shrimp from our saltwater aquifer source, but we steered instead toward omega-3 fatty acid oils because of emerging research regarding their wide range of health benefits — as well as the exploding international appetite for omega-3s. While the production of a higher-valued product such as omega-3s is our immediate focus, we are also actively researching fuel-based opportunities.

8. How many species of algae do you use?

AA: At AlgaeBio, we have identified and refined a core array of a half-dozen specific photosynthetic, naturally biodiverse algae strains that are ideal for our unique growing environment.

9. How big will animal feed production be in your business model?

AA: We expect that animal feed will eventually be a significant part of our business at AlgaeBio. However, it is likely that our principal product flow will be directed toward human nutrition and health, and towards providing renewable energy products.

Source: http://algaenews.com/2011/09/advantages-of-growing-algae-with-brine-water/

In the words of a former osculation-obsessed game-show host: “And the survey says . . .!”
Dr. Mark Edwards, Vice-President of Corporate Development and Marketing at Algae Biosciences Incorporated, is preparing to release the results of his annual Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) Algae Industry Survey this fall.

As per usual, this year’s survey polls hundreds of industry producers, scientists, technicians, suppliers, support professionals, and academics worldwide. Dr. Edwards is tentatively scheduled to release and discuss the most recent results during the fifth annual Algae Biomass Summit, which runs from Oct. 24 to 27 at Minneapolis, Minn.

“This survey is an industry barometer of sorts. It gives the industry some strategic direction,” says Dr. Edwards, an Arizona State University professor, award-winning author, and renowned “algae evangelist” who focuses on algae’s potential in freedom foods, agribusiness, and sustainable energy.

“The ABO’s director has used it multiple times to lobby Congress. It quantifies various topics. It prioritizes a lot of issues in the industry. It’s really a big deal.”

AlgaeBio, an Arizona biotechnology company, is positioning itself to take a leadership role in the global microalgae industry in the coming months. Topping AlgaeBio’s agenda, on a short-term basis, is the production of ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils for international customers in the nutraceutical and food additive sectors.

AlgaeBio announced in mid-August a $5-million, first-phase expansion to its production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., which will allow the company to reach large-scale commercial production levels by very early 2012.

The initial phase of expansion calls for the manufacture and incorporation of 1,500 of AlgaeBio’s proprietary bioreactors, as well as harvesting and support equipment, which will be housed in a new addition to the facility.

The ABO’s annual Algae Industry Survey quizzes respondents in the areas of input and production challenges, social and economic issues, and product potential. More than a third of respondents have more than five years’ experience in the industry.

This year’s survey has also added questions about new jobs created in the algae industry. “The ethanol industry has always been about jobs, but in the algae industry, we haven’t been on that platform, so to speak,” says Dr. Edwards. “We thought it was time to ask those questions and see what kind of answers we got.”

This year’s Algae Biomass Summit will bring together industry professionals from all over the world, including the biofuels, animal feeds, supplements and foods, bioplastics, fertilizers, carbon partitioning, genetic systems, and engineering sectors.

Thanks to AlgaeBio’s market-leading production capabilities, downstream opportunities include: pharmaceuticals, such as designer proteins, vaccines, enzymes, antibodies, and research agents; sustainable biofuels; macroalgae for human food; organic pigments that can replace synthetic dyes in food and cosmetics; organic compounds called carotenoids, which as potent antioxidants reduce cell damage and fight disease; and liquid feed for marine life.

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ABOUT ALGAE BIOSCIENCES INCORPORATED: AlgaeBio is an Arizona biotechnology company that researches, develops, and manufactures ultra-pure products from micro and macro algae such as nutraceuticals, food additives, and pharmaceuticals. With access to near-perfect algae growing conditions, exclusive aquaculture access to a pristine brine water supply, and advanced proprietary technology, AlgaeBio produces superior human and animal consumable products, as well as offering advanced algae-based products and technologies for distribution into the agribusiness, biofuel, and aquaculture markets. AlgaeBio owns and operates large-scale production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Algae Biosciences Corporation.

Source: http://algaenews.com/2011/09/algaebio%E2%80%99s-edwards-nearly-set-to-unveil-abo-algae-industry-survey-results/

Mark Edwards is confident that algae will be a starship sensation. After all, it’s already a regular marvel right here on the third rock from the sun.
Edwards, the Vice-President of Corporate Development and Marketing with Algae Biosciences Incorporated, has been chosen to present two scientific papers that promote the wonders of algae for the 100 Year Starship Study, an initiative headed up by the United States government’s Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) in collaboration with the NASA Ames Research Center.

Edwards, an Arizona State University professor, award-winning author, and celebrated “algae evangelist,” will be promoting the promise of algae, a quintessential building block of life on earth, in two separate categories — habitats and environmental science, and biology and space medicine — during the 100 Year Starship Study public symposium in Orlando, Fla., from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

DARPA’s 100 Year Starship program aims, over the next century, to work toward achieving interstellar travel, while delivering spinoff benefits along the way that will benefit mankind. The most resonant papers presented in Orlando will be reviewed, revised, and published internationally.

“A lot of the things we’re doing in Holbrook (at AlgaeBio’s production facility in northeast Arizona) are the same kinds of things we would do on a starship, just on a smaller scale,” says Edwards. “It’s all about nutrient recycle-recovery, and nutrient efficiency.

“This is a display of algae’s promise. We can produce everything we need on that spaceship with algae — freedom foods, functional foods, nutraceuticals, food supplements, medicines, and vaccines.”

AlgaeBio, an Arizona biotechnology company, is positioning itself to take a leadership role in the global microalgae industry in the coming months. First on the agenda is producing ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils for international customers in the nutraceutical and food additive sectors.

Edwards’ paper on habitats and environmental science, co-authored by Robert Henrikson of Richmond, Calif., and Mark Buehrer of Bellingham, Wash., will focus on algae-based smart microfarms, which produce sustainable food, feed, oxygen, and other forms of energy by recycling the existing waste stream. Algae feeds high in nutrient density enhance growth and development for fish and animals, while organic algae biofertilizers accelerate growth of plants grown in water, air, or soil.

Edwards’ paper on biology and space medicine notes that algae is integral in the production of medicine, vaccines, and antibodies.

“I think these presentations are going to capture the imagination of a lot of people, and allow us to profile what algae can do for great numbers of people,” says Edwards. “There’s a lot to be gained here for the algae industry.

“I’m a big believer that a rising tide lifts all boats, and if I can create excitement about this subject, that will create even more innovation,” he adds. “On that starship, we’re producing food and other forms of energy with abundance methods — using inputs that are free, surplus, and sustainable.

“If you can create an algae-based production system on a starship, why can’t you do this on your back porch?”

AlgaeBio announced in mid-August a $5-million, first-phase expansion to its production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., which will allow the company to reach large-scale commercial production levels by very early 2012.

Thanks to AlgaeBio’s market-leading production capabilities, downstream opportunities include: pharmaceuticals, such as designer proteins, vaccines, enzymes, antibodies, and research agents; sustainable biofuels; macroalgae for human food; organic pigments that can replace synthetic dyes in food and cosmetics; organic compounds called carotenoids, which as potent antioxidants reduce cell damage and fight disease; and liquid feed for marine life.

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ABOUT ALGAE BIOSCIENCES INCORPORATED: AlgaeBio is an Arizona biotechnology company that researches, develops, and manufactures ultra-pure products from micro and macro algae such as nutraceuticals, food additives, and pharmaceuticals. With access to near-perfect algae growing conditions, exclusive aquaculture access to a pristine brine water supply, and advanced proprietary technology, AlgaeBio produces superior human and animal consumable products, as well as offering advanced algae-based products and technologies for distribution into the agribusiness, biofuel, and aquaculture markets. AlgaeBio owns and operates large-scale production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Algae Biosciences Corporation.

Source: http://algaenews.com/2011/09/%E2%80%98algae%E2%80%99s-promise%E2%80%99-to-take-the-podium-at-darpa%E2%80%99s-100yss-public-symposium/


Johannes Skarka, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Algae have one of the highest potential for large scale production of biofuels and other bioproducts. Nevertheless, there are still limiting factors to just how much biomass can be produced. Johannes Skarka from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has conducted some research on how land and CO2 availability will affect the algae industry in Europe.

Below is Skarka’s description of his work followed by a PDF file which contains a map with the cost of growing biomass at various sites in Europe.

“Microalgae are seen as a promising source for sustainable biofuels since they can be cultivated in photobioreactors on non-arable land and thus reduce the fuel vs. food dilemma. Furthermore they can use CO2 from industrial and power plants. However, in Europe most areas suitable for microalgae production are not located in the direct vicinity of these CO2 sources. Thus, the application of CO2 from fuel gas in algaefuel production requires a transmission infrastructure.

“Against this background a GIS-based model including pipeline transport of CO2 and land availability was developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to determine the microalgal biomass production potential at site-specific costs. The results show a total potential of 45 Mt in the EU-27 for sites with biomass costs less than 2,000 US$/t on a dry matter basis. Most of the potential can be found in the southern part of Europe, particularly on the Iberian Peninsula. Assuming an oil content of 50 % of the algal biomass and by considering a correction factor for the consequent lower biomass productivity, a considerable potential of 22 % of the EU-27’s jet fuel demand could be provided by microalgae derived biofuels.”

Johannes Skarka
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
http://www.kit.edu/english/

Check out his work here:

Microalgal biomass for biofuels in Europe

Source: http://algaenews.com/2011/09/production-potential-for-algae-biofuels-in-europe/

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