Aurora Algae secures full payment of $2 million grant

By Erin Voegele | September 28, 2012

On Sept. 27, Aurora Algae announced the successful completion of requirements for a $2 million grant awarded by Australian government. The Low Emissions Energy Development grant has been used to advance Aurora Algae’s demonstration facility in Karratha, Australia and enabled the company to develop a pilot facility comprised of six one-acre ponds. The pilot plant is capable of producing 12-15 metric tons of algal biomass per month.

According to Aurora Algae, the grant helped the company develop cost-effective, efficient methods for growing, harvesting and extracting algae. With the completion of the pilot project the resulting algae can be used to develop a variety of product lines. The company noted its algae biomass can be processed into products that are applicable to the nutraceutical market, the pharmaceutical industry, the aquaculture industry and the renewable energy sector.

“Aurora Algae’s project has multiple benefits—it does not compete with food production as some biofuel sources do and has beneficial by-products that help offset biofuel production costs,” said Australia Environment Minister Bill Marmion. “The completion of the project underlines the importance of the LEED fund in supporting the development of new, low emissions technologies and renewable energy supplies to reduce the State’s carbon footprint.”

Australia Energy Minister Peter Collier said that the ultimate benefit of LEED funding comes from the wider adoption of the technologies is supports. “Algae farming is well suited to [Western Australia’s] dry, sunny climate, regional carbon dioxide sources and liquid fuel requirements,” he said.
“The technology provides the environmental benefits of sequestering CO2, while producing renewable fuel.”

Aurora Algae has plans to break ground on a commercial facility in 2014. That facility would be located in Maitland and consist of 250 acres of algae ponds, which could produce a combined 600 metric tons of biomass each month. “LEED funding for the pilot program has been critical to the success of the project and our ability to expand in Western Australia,” said Matthew Caspari, managing director at Aurora Algae.