PetroAlgae licenses technology in Suriname
Melbourne, Fla.-based PetroAlgae Inc. and its operating company PA LLC, which licenses its commercial micro-crop technology, recently announced the finalization of a Master Framework and Initial License Agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources for the Republic of Suriname, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V. (Staatsolie) and N.V. Verenigde Cultuur Maatschappijen (N.V. VCM). The agreement covers the phased construction and operation of a commercial-scale micro-crop farm in Suriname that will produce renewable fuel and protein. PetroAlgae Executive Vice President Harold Gubnitsky notes that the farm will cultivate micro-crops from the Lemnaceae family. Duckweed is one plant in the Lemnaceae family.
According to the most recent annual report PetroAlgae filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, its technology involves the use of growth of locally-sourced, micro-crops in proprietary open-pond bioreactor systems. Information posted to the company’s website states that a demonstration-scale facility is currently operational in Fellsmere, Fla. The facility, which features dewatering , milling and drying systems, is producing feedstock for both fuel and protein. “The company’s demonstration farm in Florida shows the use of commercial equipment to grow, harvest and process at full or near full scale,” Gubnitsky said. “There are other sites like Suriname which are beginning to build systems similar in size as well as larger in size and scope, all of which are expected to move to fully commercial systems.”
If all goes as planned in Suriname, Gubnitsky estimates that construction could begin on that facility in 2012. He notes that the initial phase of the project is focused on confirming the expected production level of the proposed farm, but that PetroAlgae is currently not disclosing specific information regarding the project. Once production expectations are confirmed, planning for the commercial deployment phase of the project will begin.
According to information released by PetroAlgae, Staatsolie will serve as the lead coordinator for the Ministry of Natural Resources, while N.V. VCM and Staatsolie will both be responsible for construction and operation of the project. PetroAlgae will contribute the use and limited license to certain of its PA intellectual property and technology as well as supporting services and quality assurance. Gubnitsky added that his company leads the construction and development and also works with or manages the procurement for the facility.
“PetroAlgae is pleased to be partnering with the Suriname government, Staatsolie, and N.V. VCM as this represents a very strong team to license, build and operate a PetroAlgae production farm in Suriname,” said PetroAlgae Chairman John Scott. “We see tremendous opportunity for the clean production of renewable fuels as well as a new source of protein. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Staatsolie demonstrate a strong vision for the country as well as the region, and are not only highly diligent in their evaluation process but also efficient in their decision making process. Additionally, N.V. VCM has very strong operational and deployment competencies. We anticipate a highly productive relationship with the entire team.”