March 05, 2009
Aurora Biofuels, Inc. today announces that it has successfully operated a pilot plant in Florida for 18 months. The biodiesel produced from the Aurora Biofuels pilot facility has successfully passed ASTM standards, and the consistency of fuel production over the trial period marks a success in perfecting the company's chosen pathway of low-cost open pond algae production systems. The achievement showcases the company's pathway to cost-effectively producing consistent-quality biofuels from algae in industrial-scale volumes, and points to the company's readiness to pursue the commercialization of its biofuel process.
At the Florida facility, Aurora Biofuels has stably cultivated high-oil producing algae since August of 2007, overcoming the contamination problem commonly reported to hinder algae biofuel efforts. Company scientists and engineers have utilized new technological screening processes combined with microbial biology to identify natural algae strains best suited for biofuel production.
In addition, the pilot facility highlights the success of patent-pending engineering processes designed by Aurora Biofuels to allow for environmentally friendly, low-cost production of algae biomass and extraction of bio-oil. At the Aurora Biofuels pilot plant, algae are cultivated in seawater on non-arable land and are harvested in an energy-efficient cost-effective manner. Further, the pilot facility demonstrates that Aurora Biofuels' process can sequester more than 90 percent of carbon dioxide fed into the system.
"Our results prove that large-scale outdoor production of biodiesel from microalgae is entirely within our reach, and that our technology can be optimized and is ready to scale," said Aurora Biofuels Chief Executive Bob Walsh. "In the near-term we expect to demonstrate that the economics of this process can produce biodiesel that is price-competitive with fossil fuels and our first commercial plant will be in operation by 2012."
Source : Aurora Biofuels