Algenol launches algae fuels demonstration project in India

By Algenol | January 21, 2015

Algenol and Reliance Industries Ltd. have successfully deployed India’s first Algenol algae production platform. The demonstration module is located near the Reliance Jamnagar Refinery, the world’s largest.

“The project is designed to demonstrate how robust the Algenol system is in India, and how the two companies will more broadly integrate refinery operations with Algenol’s platform in the future,” says Paul Woods, founder and CEO of Algenol. “The deployment of our technology in India is a critical milestone,” adds Woods.

The demonstration has completed several production cycles of Algenol’s wildtype host algae, but ultimately could demonstrate the fuels production capabilities of Algenol’s advanced fuel producing algae and systems. The Algenol fuel production process is designed to convert 1 metric tons of CO2 into 144 gallons of fuel while recycling CO2 from industrial processes and converting 85 percent of the CO2 used into ethanol, gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. The advanced fuel producing algae technology is successfully operating at Algenol’s Fort Myers, Florida, headquarters.

“The initial project start-up and smooth transition begins to prove the viability of our technology in varying environments across the globe and the ability of partners to operate our production systems without Algenol’s day-to-day involvement,” explains Woods.

Construction of the system was completed in November by Algenol and Reliance engineers and biologists. Shake-down runs and systems tests have been completed and several successful batches of algae have been grown. At this time, day-to-day operations of the project are managed solely by Reliance Industries, after Algenol provided training and operational support. The effort is proof that Algenol’s technology can be colocated with and successfully managed by a partner.

The relationship between Reliance Industries and Algenol is not new, as Reliance has been a strategic investor in Algenol’s technology since June 2011. Algenol’s technology recycles carbon dioxide into fuels through its direct-to-ethanol process which results in not only ethanol but gasoline diesel and jet fuel. India is the world’s third largest producer of CO2 and the facility’s ethanol and renewable crude oil production could help meet critical demand for energy in the country as well as help to reduce green house emissions from carbon dioxide. Algenol’s fuel production process requires saltwater rather than freshwater – a key advantage for India - which has incurred serious droughts in the past and faces significant demand for fresh water. The project is currently using saltwater from the Arabian Sea.