OriginOil Announces Breakthrough Process to Extract Oil from Algae

OriginOil Announces Breakthrough Process to Extract Oil from Algae

OriginOil, Inc., the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, today announced an innovative single-step process to extract oil from algae. In addition to integrating this process into its own production system, OriginOil plans to rapidly commercialize the patent-pending process for use by others in the fast-growing algae industry.

Initial testing indicates that the new algae oil extraction process is simpler and more efficient than current systems, without requiring chemicals or significant capital expenditure for heavy machinery.

A dramatic time-lapse video posted today at www.originoil.com begins with a batch of algae that has just gone through OriginOil’s process. In less than an hour, the oil, water and biomass separate by gravity alone. Unlike conventional systems, no chemicals or heavy machinery are used in this single-step process, and no initial dewatering is required.

“Throughout the world, algae production is becoming a fact, but it still has to be harvested efficiently,” said Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginOil. “Our breakthrough technology accomplishes key parts of the harvesting process in a single, cost-effective step. We are planning to make our new technology available to our fast-growing industry.”

The company recently filed for patent protection of the new algae oil extraction process, its seventh patent application, entitled “Device and Method for Separation, Cell Lysing and Flocculation of Algae From Water.” OriginOil CTO Dr Vikram Pattarkine said, “With this new process, we have greatly improved on our previous harvesting technology. We now have a single device and process that we will optimize and scale up in upcoming trials for commercialization.”

Harvesting algae is a challenge. Algae grow suspended in large volumes of water. Once ready for harvest, the algae culture must be concentrated and the oil extracted from each cell. Then, the oil, water and biomass must all be separated for processing. The new OriginOil process achieves all these steps in one pass.

In the process, the company’s Quantum Fracturing™ combines with electromagnetism and pH modification to break down cell walls, thereby releasing the oil within these cells. Algae oil rises to the top for skimming and refining, while the remaining biomass settles to the bottom for further processing as fuel and other valuable products.

CEO Riggs Eckelberry will provide process details at the National Algae Association’s Forum on April 30, 2009. Meanwhile, he will discuss the technology and OriginOil’s work with the Department of Energy on scaling up biofuels production in Washington, DC this week. “The Obama Administration has targeted renewable energy for 10 million new jobs in the next decade,” concluded Eckelberry. “OriginOil plans to license its technology to help transform algae into a renewable and sustainable replacement for petroleum.”

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