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Organic Fuels Algae Technology Proposes Algae Oil Extraction using Electricity

October 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae Oil Extraction

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Organic Fuels Algae Technology says it has a cheap way to accomplish one of the most expensive parts of getting the oil out of the algae.

Electromechanical forces will do the trick, said Peter Loggenberg, CEO of the joint venture of Houston-based biodiesel producer Organic Fuels and the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Electromechanics.

OFAT’s alternative solution involves zapping algae with electricity to disrupt the cell walls. It’s a similar concept to that being proposed by Origin Oil, which has proposed using microwaves and ultrasound to break open algae cells.

There are other steps involved, however. For example, while OFAT’s “electromechanical lysing” process could work on algae in the very low concentrations that naturally occur in water – about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent – it would be most cost-effective if that algae concentration can be boosted to 10 percent or so, the company says. That, of course, will take time and energy.

OFAT is seeking to raise about $4 million to build a commercial prototype. Like Origin Oil, the company doesn’t want to actually get into the business of growing algae, turning it into fuel and selling it, Loggenberg said.

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