“Instead of talking about what needs to be done and assuming someone else is doing it, algaepreneurs rolled up their sleeves and are doing it themselves. To quote an NAA member, “The wise men said it couldn’t be done; the fools are doing it!”
NAA Executive Director Barry Cohen recently announced the completion of an additional commercial-scale pilot closed-loop photobioreactors (PBR) at the Biotech Institute at Lone Star College in The Woodlands, Texas. “Thanks to contributions of equipment from Solar Components Corporation, Skytronics, and Creative Lightings, design specifications from Algae Technology Ventures and cooperation from Lone Star, we were able to build in record time,” said Cohen. “We continue to benchmark new commercial-scale PBRs’ inputs/outputs, growth rates, and material and hardware costs, while at the same time we continue to lower capital costs in NAA’s current financial models.”
NAA’s next event, the ever-popular Algae Production Certification Program, will be held on October 22, 2011, at Lone Star College. Participants will see algae in production, learn about algae cultures and strain selection, growing algae in ponds and in photobioreactors, and harvesting and extraction methods, along with the different markets. Students will also be given a tour of the new lab at Lone Star College.
In addition to its existing Engineering and Algae Oil Spec committees, the National Algae Association has formed an Economics Committee to expand and complement the CapEx and OpEx modeling prepared in conjunction with the 100 acre plans and specs developed last year by the NAA Engineering Committee. This new committee will evaluate and compare the individual commercial-scale algae production costs of raceway ponds, PBR’s, hybrids and fermentation growing systems. NAA members with expertise in these areas are encouraged to collaborate on this new committee.
NAA has also launched a Virtual Algae Expo. “Traveling to conferences has become an unnecessary expense, in time and money,” according to Cohen, “and traditional exhibit time at NAA conferences has always been minimal because of the quality and quantity of the presentations. Offering the first on-line expo exclusive to algae keeps us in the forefront of commercialization efforts by providing a virtual platform for algae growers, and for harvesting and extraction equipment manufacturers and technology providers to all exhibit their products and services in one place.”
NAA’s mission is to fast track commercialization of algae as an alternative fuel to reduce US dependency on foreign oil and to create jobs in the US by providing a platform for algae researchers, algae growers, farmers and producers, and equipment manufacturers to collaborate.
Source: National Algae Association, press release, 2012-09-12.