Australian company produces algae oil, plans demo plant
Australian Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray recently unveiled the first algae-based crude oil produced by Muradel Pty Ltd. The algae oil was produced on the pilot-scale by Muradel as part of a $10.7 million project supported by a $4.4 million investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
"Biofuels made from algae alone have the potential to displace up to 30 billion liters approximately, of fuel each year, according to an Advanced Biofuels Study commissioned by the Australian Government," Gray said. "Australia is in a strong position to capitalize on the growing global biofuel market, with companies like Muradel leveraging our abundance of sun and space to grow sustainable feedstocks, and applying their expertise to drive down the cost of advanced biofuels
According to information published by Muradel, it grows algae in open raceway ponds using seawater. The company notes it has developed a low-energy harvesting technology that exploits electro-flocculation-flotation processes to separate algae biomass from its recyclable growth substrates.
A press release published by the Australian government states that Muradel will scale up its process to the demonstration-scale at a proposed facility near Whyalla, South Australia. The site for the plant has been approved by the Whyalla Council. Muradel has commenced activities related to the site’s design, the tendering process and community consultation. The demonstration plant is expected to be complete by early next year.
"There is an opportunity for the Whyalla region to be a front runner in a new advanced biofuels industry, with regional employment opportunities through the construction of the demonstration plant, and potentially, Australia's first commercial algae-to-green crude plant," Gray said.