Commercial-scale demonstrations of algae for biofuels production

Sapphire Energy Green "Crude Farm"

Sapphire Energy is operating the most advanced, algae crude oil production facility in the world. The company’s Green Crude Farm is the world’s first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-energy site, integrating the entire value chain of algae-based crude oil production, from cultivation, to harvest, to extraction of ready-to-refine Green Crude. Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm features 100 acres of cultivation ponds and all the necessary mechanical and processing equipment needed to harvest and extract algae and recycle water. At full capacity the facility will be 300 acres. It is in continuous operation of all unit processes since 2012 and producing 5,000 – 10,000 barrels of green crude per day.

Sapphire Technology Algaeus - first hybrid to cross country using a belnd of algae-based renewable gasoline

© Copyright Sapphire Energy
Above is the world’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle to cross the US on fuel containing a blend of algae-based renewable gasoline. Sapphire Energy has constructed a 300-acre integrated algae-to-biofuel demonstration facility, (Green Crude Farm) in Luna County. The First Phase became operational in August 2012, and the facility is now on schedule to reach commercial-scale production by 2018.

Muradel "algae-crude" demonstration, Australia

In November 2014, Muradel launched a $10.7m 30000 litre/annum plant to demonstrate its Green2Black™ (algae to crude oil) technology at industrial scale. This is the first step towards an 80 million liter commercial plant. Muradel uses an energy-efficient subcritical water reactor to rapidly convert algae to crude oil that is "functionally equivalent" to fossil crude.

Solazyme demonstration of commercial production of biofuels and biochemicals using heterotrophic algae

Solazyme has used molecular biology and chemical engineering to develop proprietary microalgae to convert sugars into fuels and other products. The algae are heterotrophic, meaning they grow in the dark (in fermenters) using the sugar as a food source. Using standard industrial fermentation equipment, Solazyme is able to efficiently scale and accelerate microalgae's natural oil production time to just a few days and at commercial levels. The company is currently focused on production of high margin ingredients, rather than high volume fuels [Source: Solazyme, November 2014].

In May 2014, production started at the Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils plant. Solazyme is now manufacturing products at three large scale facilities, including our 2,000 MT/year integrated facility in Peoria, the 20,000 MT/year Iowa facilities in Clinton/Galva and the 100,000 MT/year facility in Brazil.

In April 2012, Solazyme announced a joint venture with Bunge (Solazyme Bunge Produtos Renovaveis Ltda.) to develop a commercial-scale (100,000 t.p.a.) oil production facility in Brazil, using Solazymes technology to convert sugar (from cane) to 'tailored oils'. In January 2013, Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils received approval for a loan of $120 million from the Brazilian Development Bank.

Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils broke ground in June 2012 and was scheduled to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2013. It will service the renewable chemical and fuel industries within the Brazilian marketplace and will initially target 100,000 metric tons per year of renewable oil production. In November 2012, Solazyme and Bunge announced in a framework agreement that they intend to expand production capacity from 100,000 metric tons to 300,000 metric tons globally by 2016, and that the portfolio of oils will broaden to include a range of healthy and nutritious edible food oils for sale in Brazil [Source: Solazyme website].

Solazyme has partnerships with Chevron, and has a contract to provide 450000 gallons of algal biofuels for the US Navy trials. Solazyme microalgae produce linear fatty acids and esters that can be readily be converted into fuels and other added value bioproducts. Solazyme technology has been deployed successfully at commercial manufacturing scale. The company has received a $21.8m grant from the DoE for a demonstration plant. Soladiesel™ has exceeded the requirements of ASTM D6751 for jet fuel, EN 14214, D-975 and Military Specifications. In 2012 Solazyme tested its fuel with VW TDI Clean Diesel technology.

Cellana and Neste Oil agreement for commercial-scale algae production

In June 2013, Cellana, a leading developer of algae-based feedstocks for biofuels, animal feed, and Omega-3 nutritional oils, announced has entered into a multi-year off-take agreement with Neste Oil for commercial-scale quantities of Cellana’s ReNew™ Fuel algae oil feedstocks for biofuel applications. Since 2009, Cellana has operated its Kona Demonstration Facility, a 6-acre, state-of-the-art production and research facility in Hawaii. To date, more than 20 metric tons of whole algae (dry weight) have been produced using Cellana’s process with highly diverse strains, making it one of the most flexible, thoroughly tested, and validated outdoor algae production technologies in the world.

Algae.Tec Ltd production facility in Australia

Algae.Tec Ltd, Australia, has signed agreements with in Australia (Macquarie Generation) and India (Reliance) to provide facilities to convert carbon dioxide from energy plants to biofuels. In May 2015, Algae.Tec shipped the first photobioreacor to Reliance.

In August 2012, Algae.Tec opened its Shoalhaven production facility in Bomaderry, NSW - consisting of a series of photobioreactors, which will be fed with carbon dioxide from a neighbouring ethanol plant operated by the Manildra Group.

In September 2012 Algae.Tec Ltd. signed a collaboration agreement with Lufthansa for an industrial-scale algae to aviation biofuels production facility in Europe.

BioProcess Algae commercial scale algae platform in US

BioProcess Algae LLC has constructed four commercial scale Grower Harvester™ platforms in Iowa. The facility will use the carbon dioxide from Green Plains’ ethanol plant to produce high quality algal feedstocks. In April 2013, BioProcess Algae received $6.4m funding from US DOE to further develop its platform to produce military biofuels, with a focus on faster lipid production and conversion of lipids to various hydrocarbons.

Algenol Direct to Ethanol® process

Algenol recently won the 2014 Global Leadership in Biofuels award from PLATTS. Algenol’s first commercial facility will include phased deployments of photobioreactors on an initial site of up to 2,000 acres of photobioreactors, with additional acreage available for future scale-up, along with upstream and downstream processing equipment and related infrastructure. It will be located on marginal land with access to salt water, an industrial source of CO2 and distribution infrastructure. Algenol uses fully closed and sealed photobioreactors for ethanol production directly from enhanced algae. Waste algae are converted into diesel, jet fuel and gasoline using hydrothermal liquefaction and other conversion technologies.

Joule Demonstration Plant

Joule has pioneered a CO2-to-fuel production  platform,  effectively  reversing combustion through the use of solar energy. The company’s platform applies engineered catalysts   to   continuously convert waste CO2 directly into renewable fuels such as ethanol or hydrocarbons for diesel, jet fuel and gasoline. At full-scale commercialization Joule is targeting productivity of up to 25,000 gallons of ethanol/acre/year and 15,000 gallons diesel/acre/year.