NX Global to develop Canadian, US algae projects

By Erin Voegele | January 12, 2011

NX Global Inc. has received a $100 million funding commitment from a private U.S.-based organization. The financial support will be used to purchase property and fund construction on a waste-to-energy and algae facility in Canada. The project will be constructed and build by NX Global’s subsidiary, Applied Concepts for Energy Corp.

According to Norm Birmingham, spokesman for NX Global and ACEC, the Canadian project will be constructed at the site of an old paper mill. The project is a combination of waste disposal and algae production, Birmingham said. The facility will take in municipal solid waste. The waste is separated and the organic material is composted through a patented anaerobic digestion process, producing black dirt in seven days. “At that point we have to add some other dirt back in with it because it’s too strong,” Birmingham said. “The fourteenth day we are able to package it and sell it.”

Carbon dioxide that results from the composting portion of the project is used to fuel algae production. “The algae component of the project has two parts to it,” Birmingham said. The intent is to produce both blue-green algae and a species of red algae. The blue-green algae will be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production, while the red algae will go to produce a fish oil replacement.

The development plan for the project currently calls for the establishment of 100 acres of algae production. “We’re trying to decide if we are going to use an outside environment,” Birmingham said. “We have two methods that we use in various scenarios. One is a bag that basically hangs in a greenhouse. They are 12 feet high and we are able to produce several thousand gallons per acre using that particular method. Everything is closed loop and each acre has its own harvesting method…and water supply. So, if anything goes bad, we are only going to lose one acre. That method seems to work very well for the faster-growing algaes that are used to produce the lipids for making biodiesel.”

According to Birmingham, he is expecting to have the Canadian project fully permitted by the end of March. The facility will take between 9 and 12 months to develop once permits are in place.

The company is also working to develop a similar project in U.S. A portion of the $100 funding commitment could be used to fund the acquisition or lease of a 2 million square-foot greenhouse in Virginia. The greenhouse, which has been vacant for approximately 2 years, operated for nearly 2 decades growing food and bedding plants. Birmingham estimates the Virginia project could be operational 4 to 6 months after the greenhouse is bought or leased.

Birmingham said that his company will not be producing biodiesel at either of its planned sites. Rather, algae feedstock will be supplied to existing biodiesel producers. While he said contracts will determine whether dried algae or extracted algae oil is supplied to biodiesel producers, NX Global prefers to provide dried algae. “Our goal is to preferably just to dry it, and bale it, and send it off, and let [the purchasers] take care of the final productions and whatever method of their choice to get the lipids out,” Birmingham continued.

The funding commitment received by NX Global requires the guarantee of a business with a BBB credit rating or a local, provincial or federal government entity in Canada. According to the company, it is diligently working on these requirements and does not presently expect any difficulty meeting them as local governments have expressed a willingness and ability to meet these requirements and participant in the ownership of the waste facilities.



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