Proterro poised for pilot production

By Staff | January 30, 2013

Proterro Inc. has closed on a $3.5 million financing round led by current investor Braemar Energy Ventures. Cultivian Ventures, Middleland Capital, Battelle Ventures and Innovation Valley Partners also participated. The capital will allow Proterro to continue optimizing the genetic engineering of its microorganism, and support piloting a full-scale photobioreactor. The funding will also support the design of Proterro’s demonstration-scale facility.

The company’s technology is focused on sucrose-producing cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. The microorganisms take in water, carbon dioxide, sunlight and nutrients, excreting sugars that can be converted into biofuels and biochemicals.

The pilot facility is expected to be running in the first half of 2013. The facility will test a handful of the company’s solid-state reactors. A future demonstration-scale facility will feature up to 100 of the reactors. Proterro projects its process will be capable of producing fermentation-ready sugars at a cost of less than 5 cents per pound.