NZ algae firm partners for second DOE project

By Anna Austin
Posted May 11, 2010, at 1:16 p.m. CST

Just a few months after New Zealand-based Aquaflow Bionomic signed on to work with Honeywell's UOP for a U.S. DOE-funded project, the company has partnered with the U.S. Gas Technology Institute for an additional DOE-funded project.

For the past two years, the algal technology company has been working on a number of different ventures, including developing wild algae harvesting and dewatering methods at a municipal wastewater site in Belheim, N.Z., experimenting in removing algal blooms in the Rotorua Lakes of Bay of Plenty, N.Z., as well as developing an algal conversion and refining technology dubbed Green Crude.

The previously announced demonstration project with Honeywell, one of 12 Recovery Act-supported projects aiming to explore concepts for beneficial reuse of carbon dioxide, involves performing a series of monitored algae cultivation trials involving the capture of CO2 from exhaust stacks at Honeywell's manufacturing facility in Hopewell, Va.

Aquaflow's newest partner GTI was also a recipient of a CO2 reuse Recovery Act award. Along with partners University of California, San Diego, the University of Connecticut, San Diego Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Gas Co., GTI proposes to capture power plant flue gas CO2 using macroalgae (seaweeds) cultivated in non-submerged greenhouses. The macroalgae will be harvested and processed via anaerobic digestion into methane to fuel the power plant.

GTI's collaboration with Aquaflow will aim to demonstrate the conversion of algal biomass to gasoline and diesel fuel through an integrated hydropyrolysis and hydroconversion technology.

Aquaflow director Nick Gerritsen said the company will continue to develop its own biomass conversion technology in parallel with the U.S. project, the initial phase of which will last 14 months.