If proof is in the pudding, Valcent‘s pudding is looking mighty green to me.
Judging from the first wave of Vertigro test data, the promise of sustainably producing large amounts of biofuels-ready algae oil is becoming more and more of a reality — and a potentially revolutionary reality at that!
From the Valcent/Vorticom press release:
During a 90 day continual production test, algae was being harvested at an average of one gram (dry weight) per liter. This equates to algae bio mass production of 276 tons of algae per acre per year. Achieving the same biomass production rate with an algal species having 50% lipids (oil) content would therefore deliver approximately 33,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year.
…As a comparative, food crop such as soy bean will typically produce some 48 gallons oil per acre per year and palm will produce approximately 630 gallons oil per acre per year. In addition, the Vertigro Bio Reactor System is a closed loop continuous production system that uses little water and may be built on non arable lands.
The press release goes on to note that the focus of the 90 day test was determining the robustness of the test bed — not pushing the limits on production yields. The official line from Valcent stresses that the test system has not been optimized for maximum yields or the best selection of algae at this time.
According to Kertz and Dr. Aga Pinowska of Valcent, “We have learned how to produce a very large algal bio-mass under varying environmental and operating conditions in our continuous process photo bioreactors. We believe these initial results are amongst the best achieved to date, and we are confidant we can now increase the productivity.”
Doug Frater, CEO of Global Green Solutions Inc, goes on to noteâ€š “We are extremely pleased with the robustness and performance of the Vertigro technology in sustainably producing commercial quantities of algae biomass. Over the coming months we will further optimize the technology and demonstrate economic algae production for biofuel feedstock purposes.”
The next round of tests will involve an increase in the number of reactors from 30 to 100, various lipids extraction tests, as well as tests that focus on optimizing oil production per acre. Subsequintly, the joint venture between Valcent and Global Green intends to build out a one acre pilot plant, with engineering and design work underway at this time.
For those new to the Valcent story, their Vertigro system may be a solution to the renewable energy sector’s quest to create a clean, green process which uses mainly light, water and air to create fuel. The Vertigro technology employs a proprietary high-density vertical bio-reactor that produces fast growing algae which may yield large volumes of high-grade algae oil. This oil can be refined into a cost-effective, non-polluting diesel biofuel, jet fuel and other applications.
The algae derived fuel may be an energy efficient replacement for fossil fuels and can be used in any diesel powered vehicle or machinery. In addition, 90% by weight of the algae is captured carbon dioxide, which is “sequestered” by this process and so contributes significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gasses.
I think that I’m breathing a little easier already.