OriginOil Develops Portable Modular Round-the-Clock Algae Biodiesel System

 

OriginOil Algae Mashup[social_buttons]OriginOil has been a busy little company.

On the heels of a breakthrough which the company claims will make algae oil farming a true competitor to petroleum, OriginOil has filed two patents that may make the production of fuel products from algae incredibly cheap and easy in the near future.





The first patent deals with a system known as the “Helix BioReactor™.” OriginOil Director of Development, Nicholas Eckelberry, had this to say about the Helix:

“The key to dependable, high algae yield is continuous lighting [to sustain growth]. In a natural pond, the sun only illuminates down to about half an inch below the surface. In contrast, the Helix Bioreactor features a rotating vertical shaft with very low energy lights arranged in [such a way as to provide constant light to all algae in the bioreactor].

This results in a theoretically unlimited number of [growth] layers. Additionally, each lighting element is engineered to produce specific [types of] light for optimal algae growth. By giving algae only the light it needs, throughout the growth tank, all of the time, we’re growing algae quickly and cost-effectively.”

The second patent takes the Helix Bioreactor™ and uses it in a modular, scalable and transportable algae factory. This system will allow stacking of many Helix BioReactors into an “integrated network of fully automated, portable and remotely monitored growth units.” OriginOil executives had this to say about it:

“OriginOil’s system addresses two key areas: growth of the algae and extraction of the oil. By using a modular design, we can connect a large number of Helix BioReactors to a small number of extraction units to achieve economies of scale and higher production of algae oil. This is an important patent filing as it helps to enable the industrialization of algae production. As we envision it, the system is modular, stackable, truckable, self-sufficient, adaptable, fully remote-manageable, and, most of all, scalable.”

As noted in a previous Gas 2.0 post about algae, acre-for-acre algae can produce up to 100 times the oil yield of soybeans. Additionally, the biomass left over after oil extraction can either be fed to livestock as a protein supplement, or fermented into ethanol.

One big problem hampering oil-from-algae systems up to this point has been figuring out how to collect and extract oil from the algae, and in the case of open ponds, prevent contamination by invasive species. OriginOil’s system may represent a giant leap forward in addressing these major issues in an efficient and cost effective way.

Gas 2.0 Posts Related to Algae and Biodiesel:

Image Credits: OriginOil Logo from OriginOil, Algae photo from Spigoo’s Flickr library under Creative Commons

 

 






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  • Putte Fnask

    Yawn!!!! I heard it all before. Stop talking and start producing the things instead. I bet 10 bucks this will lead to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!

  • Putte Fnask

    Yawn!!!! I heard it all before. Stop talking and start producing the things instead. I bet 10 bucks this will lead to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!

  • Samurai Fox

    Oh, hell yeah. The more good news I hear about “oilgae” getting off the ground, the brighter the future seems to get. Too hell with corn ethanol, this is our saving grace!

  • Samurai Fox

    Oh, hell yeah. The more good news I hear about “oilgae” getting off the ground, the brighter the future seems to get. Too hell with corn ethanol, this is our saving grace!

  • Mason Hamilton

    Another wanna be alternative fuel producer with no visible production economics (and apparently non-visible either) to support the practicality of their “break through technology.” The idea that you can afford the energy to electrically (largely made from oil) illuminate algae to make oil says a lot about this companies understanding of not only energy budgets and basic physics, but basic economic principles as well. Alternative energy supporters and investors should be highly suspicious of any company that doesn’t publicly display its production economics. I understand proprietary technology secrecy, but the economics of proprietary technology are just numbers – not technical revelations and must be very apparent to have even minimum credibility in this field.

  • Mason Hamilton

    Another wanna be alternative fuel producer with no visible production economics (and apparently non-visible either) to support the practicality of their “break through technology.” The idea that you can afford the energy to electrically (largely made from oil) illuminate algae to make oil says a lot about this companies understanding of not only energy budgets and basic physics, but basic economic principles as well. Alternative energy supporters and investors should be highly suspicious of any company that doesn’t publicly display its production economics. I understand proprietary technology secrecy, but the economics of proprietary technology are just numbers – not technical revelations and must be very apparent to have even minimum credibility in this field.

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Mason Hamilton

    I appreciate your skeptical thinking. It’s true, without a commercial process and facility it all seems a bit far off. But the optimistic side of me likes to think that someday soon there will be an algae biodiesel facility that produces oil on the cheap. I’ll believe it when I can see it and it can be verified independently.

  • terry

    I clean pools for a living and my main focus is preventing algae growth and I laughed when I saw this maybe I could work a deal with them to produce algae with the pools I clean, I’m sure some of the owners would do it for a kick back. I could have a algae fueled pool truck.

  • terry

    I clean pools for a living and my main focus is preventing algae growth and I laughed when I saw this maybe I could work a deal with them to produce algae with the pools I clean, I’m sure some of the owners would do it for a kick back. I could have a algae fueled pool truck.

  • Lee Allen

    This guy hasn’t a clue about algae growth. He thinks that 24 hr lighting produces algae, what a joke. He needs to go back to biology 101

  • Lee Allen

    This guy hasn’t a clue about algae growth. He thinks that 24 hr lighting produces algae, what a joke. He needs to go back to biology 101

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Lee Allen

    Ask most aquarium owners and they’ll tell you that if they leave their lights on for more than 10 hours a day it’ll cause excessive algae growth. Look here for an explanation:

    http://www.ratemyfishtank.com/articles/95

  • Brian K

    If I read the OriginOil website correctly, they are planning to use LED’s to grow the algae….

    Wouldn’t that use up electricity? Which would lead to more coal burning? More coal burning more CO2?

    Why not just use the sun?

  • Brian K

    If I read the OriginOil website correctly, they are planning to use LED’s to grow the algae….

    Wouldn’t that use up electricity? Which would lead to more coal burning? More coal burning more CO2?

    Why not just use the sun?

  • What about burning some of the biodiesel produced from the algae to power the LED’s? Anyway sounds promising.

  • What about burning some of the biodiesel produced from the algae to power the LED’s? Anyway sounds promising.

  • D Glenn
  • D Glenn
  • tess

    Have none of you heard of solar energy???? I think the government should take the tax credits they have been giving to oil companies and give the money to companies like this to develop alternative resources…we can not afford to give up our food farm crops for fuel…then we will have no food and be eating algae.

  • tess

    Have none of you heard of solar energy???? I think the government should take the tax credits they have been giving to oil companies and give the money to companies like this to develop alternative resources…we can not afford to give up our food farm crops for fuel…then we will have no food and be eating algae.

  • Evil One

    Unless you can make gasoline, YAWN.

    And I agree. All they got is a patent and pie in the sky.

  • Evil One

    Unless you can make gasoline, YAWN.

    And I agree. All they got is a patent and pie in the sky.

  • Dick

    I’m tired of hearing all the scientific hype. I believe! What I want to see is the Nuts n’ bolts of making the stuff here on my little hilltop.

  • Dick

    I’m tired of hearing all the scientific hype. I believe! What I want to see is the Nuts n’ bolts of making the stuff here on my little hilltop.

  • Leo Bauer

    Lighting algae to harvest diesel off them is like connecting a light bulb to a solar panel. Guys, we have some fine perpetuum mobile here.

    To not be a total spiolsport: Maybe they light the algae in dark hours to reduce biomass loss (which would be around 25% overnight). But alas, I fail to see how this would make it cheap enough to compete against fossil fuel.

  • Leo Bauer

    Lighting algae to harvest diesel off them is like connecting a light bulb to a solar panel. Guys, we have some fine perpetuum mobile here.

    To not be a total spiolsport: Maybe they light the algae in dark hours to reduce biomass loss (which would be around 25% overnight). But alas, I fail to see how this would make it cheap enough to compete against fossil fuel.

  • Eddie G.

    Making algae oil available to the American masses would severely slow down the flow of US dollar’s to the Middle East. Will it happen over-night? Probably not, but I have followed OriginOil’s progress and applaud both Rigg’s and Nick on their achievements.

    Are they trying to make money off of Algae for themselves and their shareholders? Yes, but let’s root for good old Capitalism.

  • Eddie G.

    Making algae oil available to the American masses would severely slow down the flow of US dollar’s to the Middle East. Will it happen over-night? Probably not, but I have followed OriginOil’s progress and applaud both Rigg’s and Nick on their achievements.

    Are they trying to make money off of Algae for themselves and their shareholders? Yes, but let’s root for good old Capitalism.

  • Ron Cook

    I am working with someone that has done that in the desert Southwest. I want to know what kind of algae can grow in the intermountain west at 6000 feet and make biodiesel. I have the pond and the land, lots of sunshine and 15 acres to work with, plus two diesel vehicles. Any suggestions on what kind of algae or where I can find the answer.

  • Ron Cook

    I am working with someone that has done that in the desert Southwest. I want to know what kind of algae can grow in the intermountain west at 6000 feet and make biodiesel. I have the pond and the land, lots of sunshine and 15 acres to work with, plus two diesel vehicles. Any suggestions on what kind of algae or where I can find the answer.

  • Hi, guys,

    Always nice to see OriginOil being chatted about! If you’re truly interested and would like the latest information directly from us as opposed to guessing what we’re up to, get on our news list; sign up here http://www.originoil.com/originoil/news.html. On that same page, you can also see our archived news.

  • Hi, guys,

    Always nice to see OriginOil being chatted about! If you’re truly interested and would like the latest information directly from us as opposed to guessing what we’re up to, get on our news list; sign up here http://www.originoil.com/originoil/news.html. On that same page, you can also see our archived news.

  • “OriginOil’s system may represent a giant leap forward in addressing these major issues in an efficient and cost effective way.”

    Cost effective when you put artificial light as an energy source to feed the 27% maximum energy conversion efficiency of photosynthesis?

    You must be kidding.

  • “OriginOil’s system may represent a giant leap forward in addressing these major issues in an efficient and cost effective way.”

    Cost effective when you put artificial light as an energy source to feed the 27% maximum energy conversion efficiency of photosynthesis?

    You must be kidding.

  • Mike

    This “Helix BioReactor” for growing algae, in order to be viable, would have to violate the first law of thermodynamics. This is because the energy contained within algae is produced by photosynthesis, a process which converts light energy to stored chemical energy, or “food” for the algae. This stored energy (in the form of carbohydrates) is what is processed into fuel. Normally the light source for photosynthesis is the sun, and thus is “free”, making algae and other plants a source of renewable energy. Remember, renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are naturally replenished. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy]

    This “Helix Bioreactor”, on the other hand, transfers light energy to algae using ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS, powered by ELECTRICITY. This is an exercise in futility. Instead of converting the sun’s rays into chemical energy stored within the algae, this Helix Bioreactor process is essentially converting ELECTRICITY into chemical energy in algae–at a very inefficient rate at that. The result is analogous to pointing a lamp at a solar cell to generate electricity. Even if you could do it at 100% efficiency, it would be pointless. Why generate power to grow algae to make fuel…to generate power? Why not eliminate the algae step altogether?

    If the goal is simply to convert electricity into a portable fuel, then electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is WAY more efficient (estimated anywhere from 50-90% efficiency). On the other hand, the theoretical maximum efficiency of converting light into chemical energy by photosynthesis is somewhere around 25%. The actual maximum obtainable efficiency in algae has been estimated to be more like 10%. Then of course there is the energy input required for processing this chemical energy into a usable fuel, which is no small factor either.

    In short, this “Helix Bioreactor” is a means of scamming investors out of money, and the people behind them know it! None of the news outlets or media seem to get it, however, and simply parrot the claims made by these companies. It simply comes down to basic laws of physics.

  • Mike

    This “Helix BioReactor” for growing algae, in order to be viable, would have to violate the first law of thermodynamics. This is because the energy contained within algae is produced by photosynthesis, a process which converts light energy to stored chemical energy, or “food” for the algae. This stored energy (in the form of carbohydrates) is what is processed into fuel. Normally the light source for photosynthesis is the sun, and thus is “free”, making algae and other plants a source of renewable energy. Remember, renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are naturally replenished. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy]

    This “Helix Bioreactor”, on the other hand, transfers light energy to algae using ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS, powered by ELECTRICITY. This is an exercise in futility. Instead of converting the sun’s rays into chemical energy stored within the algae, this Helix Bioreactor process is essentially converting ELECTRICITY into chemical energy in algae–at a very inefficient rate at that. The result is analogous to pointing a lamp at a solar cell to generate electricity. Even if you could do it at 100% efficiency, it would be pointless. Why generate power to grow algae to make fuel…to generate power? Why not eliminate the algae step altogether?

    If the goal is simply to convert electricity into a portable fuel, then electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is WAY more efficient (estimated anywhere from 50-90% efficiency). On the other hand, the theoretical maximum efficiency of converting light into chemical energy by photosynthesis is somewhere around 25%. The actual maximum obtainable efficiency in algae has been estimated to be more like 10%. Then of course there is the energy input required for processing this chemical energy into a usable fuel, which is no small factor either.

    In short, this “Helix Bioreactor” is a means of scamming investors out of money, and the people behind them know it! None of the news outlets or media seem to get it, however, and simply parrot the claims made by these companies. It simply comes down to basic laws of physics.

    • As Im looking at the age of the previous posts, this is what I envision. This is what I think today…

      A vacant lot of land with old buildings torn up- turned into a clean little fuelplant. A field of solar panels (USA made with 30yr warranty) powering the equipment growing the algea, high tech LED lighting at night, C0’2 absorbtion, very cool! A section of bioreactors all lined up, like 8 or 12 of them. A section of land with small buildings with computers, pumps and tubes. And storage tanks near the tree lined- parklike-landscaped entance. I want to run this place!!

      Biodiesal powered trucks stopping by to fill up their big tanks for delivery. The fact is.. car fuel, livestock feed, plastics, jet transportation are obviosly a huge part of our world.

      Add a few OriginOil Fuel Stop stations built and powered by ecofriendly means- like solar panels soaking up the sun accross the huge canopy covering the pumps and cars. (Sharp is making solar panels in the USA) Plus, rapid chargers for the electric Nissans and Fords. And maybe a coffee shop. Yes, an organic coffee shop. Yum. (the previous statement about ecofriendly built and powered OriginOil Fuel Stop stations with a coffee shop- is my idea and i am publishng it now. So there- do not take my idea!) I am not kidding people! We need to use our resourses wisely- without ignorance.

      Its just like the Hemp plant. Are we dumb?? Does anyone realize the true benefits of the entire plant. C0’2 absorbtion, rapid growth, cleaner air, durable paper and fabric, high protein food, oils, paints, roofing shingles and clothing!! the list goes on and on. These are facts and I hope this helps everyone make a positive difference. Do what is good for our future and the ones we love. Help support and create jobs for cleaner energy.

      I hope we all just get together, learn, teach and compromise. Plus- use a lot more of the common sense that we have been given even. Thanks! wtfsh

      Everything working in harmony. Using our “free” Sun for power to make oil and food, jet fuel and plastics. It all seems so amazing and natural.

      What I have discovered about Originoil is

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