OriginOil, Aquaviridis team up to deploy algae production systems

By Bryan Sims | February 06, 2012

California-based algae technology developer OriginOil Inc. has signed a joint commercial agreement with Aquaviridis Inc. to help develop the multiphase algae production rollout of its Mexicali, Mexico, pilot site, which will serve as the model for future algae sites throughout the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region, with a focus on desert areas of the American Southwest and Mexico.

Under the joint commercial agreement, OriginOil will provide its expertise to help develop growth and harvesting solutions and implement its unique algae growth, harvesting and oil extraction technologies. The facility will also serve as a test bed for OriginOil’s ongoing research and development innovations.

Backed by private sector funding, Aquaviridis (Latin for "green water") has developed a pilot-scale facility south of Mexicali in Ejido Nuevo Leon, Baja California Norte, Mexico, and plans to immediately scale up from research and development to 10 acres of pilot algae production by mid-year. Commercial-scale production capacity is expected by the second quarter of 2013.

“After evaluating OriginOil’s portfolio, our technical team felt that OriginOil had some novel, scalable, and potentially game-changing technologies for algae harvesting and growth enhancement,” said Thomas Byrne, president of Aquaviridis. “We are excited about the opportunity to work closely with them as a partner during our research and planning stage. Having the right partners and technologies is critical as our expectation is to have this facility in revenue this year.”

The intent of the project is to develop economical algal crops to exploit opportunities in algal-based human dietary ingredients, while demonstrating scalability of our low cost methods for producing algae as fish meal protein replacements and other high value animal feed applications. Aquaviridis selected the Mexicali Valley as a strategic location due to favorable growing conditions, strong local and governmental support and available sources of carbon dioxide.

“The Mexicali Valley is a great place to develop an algae industry given its climate and access to industry research and resources throughout North America,” said Ken Reynolds, vice president of marketing for OriginOil. “With the U.S. as a neighboring market for high value exports, Mexico is in an excellent position to take the lead in areas such as research and production of algae for nutritional products, animal feed and oil for biofuels, which would create long-term regional economic growth and job production.”