1. Melbourne, Fla.-based PetroAlgae Inc. has changed its name to Parabel Inc. The company said the new name better reflects its strategic changes and commercial milestones. Information issued by Parabel noted that its proprietary technology addresses global demand for new sources of feed, food and fuel. According to the company, its open-pond bioreactor technology enables customer licensees to grow, harvest and process locally available, aquatic microcrops. Parabel’s technology is used to cultivate microcrops from the Lemnaceae family, including duckweed. The company filed an IPO registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission August 2010, and amended that registration December 2011. Due to the pending IPO, Parabel is not currently able to offer additional comments on the name change. Parabel operates a demonstration-scale algae production facility in Fellsmere, Fla.
2. Blue Marble Biomaterials formed a partnership with University of Montana to leverage ongoing research by Carrine Blank, a research assistant professor at UM’s geosciences department, and Nancy Hinman, a geosciences professor. They discovered a unique class of algal organisms that have exceptional metabolic pathways that can use alternative metabolic resources to produce biomass before photosynthesis occurs. A paper is expected to be published by Blank and Hinman based on the research between UM and Blue Marble. Blue Marble has done extensive work with algal biomass both in remediation and production. Finding ways to incorporate novel algal technologies into its waste recycling system was a key driver behind the decision to partner with UM.
3. Sapphire Energy Inc. has entered into a licensing agreement with Earthrise Nutritionals LLC, a company that has produced spirulina and spirulina-based products for more than 25 years. Spirulina, also known as blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, can be cultivated in a similar fashion to green algae to produce lipids. Sapphire Energy will integrate Earthrise Nutritionals’ spirulina strain into its growing inventory of cyanobacteria and algae strains for algae-to-energy production. As a result of the agreement, Sapphire Energy said it has significantly improved its operational efficiency by expanding the range of strain choices available for producing its biobased crude, which can be refined into diesel, jet and gasoline fuels.
4. 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. It will serve as the model for future algae sites throughout the North American Free Trade Agreement region, with a focus on desert areas of the American Southwest and Mexico. 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 midyear. Commercial-scale production capacity is expected by the second quarter of 2013. The intent of the project is to develop economical algal crops to exploit opportunities in algal-based human dietary ingredients, while demonstrating scalability of low-cost methods for producing algae as fish meal protein replacements and other high-value animal feed applications.
5. Solazyme Inc. announced the hiring of Mark Warner as senior vice president of engineering. Warner joins Solazyme from Harris Group where he was senior vice president of process industries. In his new role with Solazyme, Warner is responsible for the design and construction of Solazyme’s renewable oil and bioproducts production facilities worldwide. Before Harris Group, Warner was responsible for the design and construction of one of the largest biodiesel production facilities in the U.S., Imperium Renewables’ Grays Harbor facility, as vice president of engineering for Imperium. He also led project development of several advanced biofuel production facilities in the U.S., Argentina, Europe and Asia, according to Solazyme. A professional engineer, Warner has 26 years of experience in business, technical, and management experience in the building and development of renewable energy projects and chemical plant operations.
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