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Nevada company prepares to commercialize algae bioreactor

By Lisa Gibson
Nevada-based W2 Energy Inc. (www.w2energy.com), a green energy equipment developer, expected to have its patented algae bioreactor up and running in Guelph, Ontario, in mid-September, according to CEO Mike McLaren, after which the company will begin selling its bio-oil and searching for partners to help commercialize the bioreactor. "Our company strategy is joint venture instead of equipment sales," McLaren said.

The Sunfilter bioreactor will grow algae to produce bio-oil for biofuels and will be used to sequester carbon dioxide from the company's waste-to-energy processes. It also can be sold separately to algae producers, biodiesel producers, labs, aquaculture companies, and coal and petroleum plants, according to W2. A purchase cost for the equipment, which took a couple years to develop, has not been established, McLaren said.

Inside the bioreactor, low-power ultraviolet lights, in combination with gases, feed the algae so it grows and fills the tubes with blooms, according to W2's Web site. When the blooms have reached an appropriate density, a set of magnetic rings inside the tubes scrapes the blooms clean and pushes the algae to the upper manifold, where compressed air pushes it out. The algae is then compressed, dried and then either gasified or fed into a biodiesel reactor to produce biodiesel.

W2 also has developed a multifuel reactor to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel, a blend of JP8 jet fuel or gasoline; a plasma-assisted gasifier; a SteamRay rotary system engine that converts energy from steam or fuel combustion into a rotary force; small energy generating systems; and the Non-Thermal Plasmatron. The plasmatron, designed to gasify hydrocarbons to produce syngas, also is being built in Guelph and should be operational in mid-September, McLaren said. W2 has licensed its technologies to Alpha Renewable Energy in India and is working with China and several corporations in the U.S., McLaren said.

The company also developed a 4-ton municipal solid waste system that was not sold as planned because the buyer's funds were not adequate, he added.

Since W2 announced at the beginning of August that the bioreactor will reach commercial scale, many parties have expressed interest in purchasing it, according to McLaren. "It's hard to keep up," he said.
 

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