362 inform June 2009, Vol. 20 (6)
development agreement between the Ames number of factors, including the ability of
ALGAE Laboratory and Catilin, Inc. (Ames, Iowa),
a nanotechnology-based company that spe-
each facility to meet performance targets,
which have yet to be determined.
cializes in biofuel production. The license is for 20 years, and the
OriginOil The so-called nanofarming technol-
ogy uses sponge-like mesoporous nano-
Licensee has the option to extend for two
additional 20-year periods.
announces process particles to extract oil from the algae. The
process does not harm the algae, unlike
PetroAlgae had said in February that it
would sign its first major licensing agree-
to extract oil from other methods being developed elsewhere. ment by the end of the first quarter.
Thus, production costs are lowered, and the
oil-generation cycle is shortened.
In mid-April, Los Angeles-based
Oil, once extracted, is subjected to a
solid catalyst from Catilin that easily con-
OriginOil announced a single-step process
to extract oil from algae. Oil, water, and
verts the oils to ASTM- and EN-certifiable
biomass separate by gravity. No chemicals
Victor Lin and Marek Pruski are co-
or heavy machinery is used, and no initial
dewatering is required.
investigators on the project. Phases one and
two of the project will cover the culturing
Cell walls are broken down through the
company’s Quantum Fracturing™ process,
and selection of microalgae, as well as the
development of the specific nanoparticle-
diesel registered by
in which algae in water, in the presence of
special catalysts, are ultrasonicated to crack
based extraction and catalyst technologies
for the removal of algal oil and production
the cell membrane and release the oil con- The US EPA officially registered the renew-
of biodiesel, respectively. Phase three will
tained therein. Oil then rises to the top, able diesel fuel made by Amyris Biotech-
focus on scale-up of the catalyst and pilot
from whence it can be skimmed and then nologies (Emeryville, California, USA) in
plant testing of conversion to biodiesel.
refined. Fractured cells settle to the bottom, April, making this the first time a hydro-
where they can be collected for further pro- carbon-based fuel made from plant-derived
cessing as fuel or other products.