Canadian Consulting Engineer

Green scum is not so scummy

According to a company in Los Angeles, algae is the most promising source of renewable oil and is a true competitor...

March 5, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

According to a company in Los Angeles, algae is the most promising source of renewable oil and is a true competitor to petroleum.

Algae cells can contain up to 60% crude oil that can be converted into refined chemicals such as bio-plastic and solvents. Now OriginOil, founded in June 2007, has developed a Helix Bioreactor that speeds the growth of algae and allows it to be produced at a commercial scale. The reactor uses low-energy lights arranged in a helix pattern and its operations can be automated to allow continuous production.

The company’s founder says: “Algae is such a fantastic biofuel source because it grows quickly, is inexpensive to harvest and provides abundant amounts of oil relative to its size.” The company is hoping the algae oil will be used not just as an alternative to fuels such as diesel and gasoline, but also for making plastics and solvents.


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