Algaeventure Systems believes it has found a better way to separate algae from water and dry it – a key step in making algae an economical biofuel as well as a lower cost product for industries such as nutrition and pharmaceuticals.
Spun off from packaging company Univenture in 2008, the Marysville company relies on innovations developed by CEO/inventor Ross Youngs that simplify the harvesting, dewatering and drying process while keeping algae’s cellular integrity, says Raouf Solaiman, marketing/sales associate.
The Solid Liquid Separation process, or SLS, uses a belt separating and drying system to avoid traditional technologies like centrifuging, which can degrade algae, Solaiman says. The company has licensed more than 10 of its machines and is further refining the technology with a $6-million U.S. Department of Energy grant.
“The SLS dramatically reduces the energy input as opposed to spinning a gigantic drum at very high velocities to do the dewatering,” Solaiman explains. “We dewater the same amount of algae to an even dryer state with about 98 percent less energy. That’s a big deal.”
The company’s industrial scale model should be fully commercialized later this year as the technology is advanced, Solaiman says.
Meanwhile, Algaeventure is tackling an environmental problem close to home: toxic algae in Grand Lake St. Marys. The company is using two new processes to learn how to pull algae from the lake using as little energy as possible and to boost the growth of “good” algae to crowd out the bad.
Algaeventure Systems currently has about 30 employees, and Solaiman says the company is growing.
Source: Raouf Solaiman, Algaeventure Systems
Writer: Gene Monteith
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