Aurora Algae announces milestone transition

By Erin Voegele | September 20, 2010
Posted Sept. 20, 2010

California-based Aurora Algae, previously known as Aurora Biofuels, recently announced its transition from pilot-scale to commercial-scale algae production.

"For the past four years we have focused on developing high-performance, versatile strains of algae in preparation for full-scale commercialization-and to be able to say we have reached the end of that development process is exciting," said Aurora CEO Greg Bafalis in a press release announcing the development. "What we've created over that time is a photosynthetic algae-based platform for growth-growth in terms of the number of high-value, low-cost products we will provide our customers; growth in the number of addressable markets for our company; and growth in the impact we will have on some of the world's most pressing challenges including carbon emission reduction, fresh water conservation, and global demand for protein and sustainable Omega-3 production."

According to information released by Aurora, algae-based biodiesel is one of four specific product lines that it will produce. The release also states that Aurora's algae strains have been optimized for open saltwater ponds. In addition, the company notes that its algae strain is lighter in color that wild varieties, which aids in allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper into the ponds, increasing yields.

While Biodiesel Magazine was not able to reach a representative of Aurora Algae for further comment, the company's website states that it has been operating a 3 ton per year pilot-scale algae production facility since August 2007. According to Aurora's website, a commercial production facility that is under development will be capable of producing 40,000 tons of algal biomass each year.

Regarding biodiesel production, Aurora claims that its technology can overcome several problems that have plagued the algae industry, including contamination and harvesting and extraction process. According to the company, it does not use a centrifuge approach to algae collection. Rather, it has developed a harvest method that utilizes technology commonly employed in the waste-water industry.
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