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Algenol Biofuels

Founded in 2006, Algenol Biofuels is a global, industrial biotechnology company that is commercializing its patented algae technology for production of ethanol and other fuels. Based in Southwest Florida, Algenol’s patented technology enables the production of the four most important fuels (ethanol, gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel) using proprietary algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater for around $1.27 per gallon and at production levels of 8,000 total gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year. Algenol's technology produces high yields and relies on patented photobioreactors and proprietary downstream techniques for low-cost fuel production using carbon dioxide from industrial sources.

Blue Marble Production

Blue Marble Production is a Seattle-based company that is dedicated to removing algae from algae-infested water. This in turn cleans up the environment and allows this company to produce biofuel. Rather than just focusing on the mass production of algae, this company focuses on what to do with the byproducts. This company recycles almost 100% of its water via reverse osmosis, saving about 26,000 gallons of water every month. This water is then pumped back into their system. The gas produced as a byproduct of algae will also be recycled by being placed into a photobioreactor system that holds multiple strains of algae. Whatever gas remains is then made into pyrolysis oil by thermochemical processes. Not only does this company seek to produce biofuel, but it also wishes to use algae for a variety of other purposes such as fertilizer, food flavoring, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer drugs.


Solazyme is one of a handful of companies which is supported by oil companies such as Chevron. Additionally, this company is also backed by Imperium Renewables, Blue Crest Capital Finance, and The Roda Group. Solazyme has developed a way to use up to 80% percent of dry algae as oil.[184] This process requires the algae to grow in a dark fermentation vessel and be fed by carbon substrates within their growth media. The effect is the production of triglycerides that are almost identical to vegetable oil. Solazyme's production method is said to produce more oil than those algae cultivated photosynthetically or made to produce ethanol. Oil refineries can then take this algal oil and turn it into biodiesel, renewable diesel or jet fuels.

Part of Solazyme's testing, in collaboration with Maersk Line and the US Navy, placed 30 tons of Soladiesel(RD) algae fuel into the 98,000-tonne, 300-meter container ship Maersk Kalmar. This fuel was used at blends from 7% to 100% in an auxiliary engine on a month-long trip from Bremerhaven, Germany to Pipavav, India in Dec 2011. In Jul 2012, The US Navy used 700,000 gallons of HRD76 biodiesel in three ships of the USS Nimitz "Green Strike Group" during the 2012 RIMPAC exercise in Hawaii. The Nimitz also used 200,000 gallons of HRJ5 jet biofuel. The 50/50 biofuel blends were provided by Solazyme and Dynamic Fuels.

Sapphire Energy

Sapphire Energy is a leader in the algal biofuel industry backed by the Wellcome Trust, Bill Gates' Cascade Investment, Monsanto, and other large donors.[188] After experimenting with production of various algae fuels beginning in 2007, the company now focuses on producing what it calls "green crude" from algae in open raceway ponds. After receiving more than $100 million in federal funds in 2012, Sapphire built the first commercial demonstration algae fuel facility in New Mexico and has continuously produced biofuel since completion of the facility in that year.[188] In 2013, Sapphire began commercial sales of algal biofuel to Tesoro, making it one of the first companies, along with Solazyme, to sell algae fuel on the market.

Diversified Technologies Inc

Diversified Technologies Inc. has created a patent pending pre-treatment option to reduce costs of oil extraction from algae. This technology, called Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology, is a low cost, low energy process that applies high voltage electric pulses to a slurry of algae.[189] The electric pulses enable the algal cell walls to be ruptured easily, increasing the availability of all cell contents (Lipids, proteins and carbohydrates), allowing the separation into specific components downstream. This alternative method to intracellular extraction has shown the capability to be both integrated in-line as well as scalable into high yield assemblies. The Pulse Electric Field subjects the algae to short, intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation in a treatment chamber, electroporating the cell walls. The formation of holes in the cell wall allows the contents within to flow into the surrounding solution for further separation. PEF technology only requires 1-10 microsecond pulses, enabling a high-throughput approach to algal extraction.

Preliminary calculations have shown that utilization of PEF technology would only account for $0.10 per gallon of algae derived biofuel produced. In comparison, conventional drying and solvent based extractions account for $1.75 per gallon. This inconsistency between costs can be attributed to the fact that algal drying generally accounts for 75% of the extraction process.  Although a relatively new technology, PEF has been successfully used in both food decomtamination processes as well as waste water treatments.

Origin Oils Inc.

Origin Oils Inc. has been researching a revolutionary method called the Helix Bioreactor,[192] altering the common closed-loop growth system. This system utilizes low energy lights in a helical pattern, enabling each algal cell to obtain the required amount of light.[193] Sunlight can only penetrate a few inches through algal cells, making light a limiting reagent in open-pond algae farms. Each lighting element in the bioreactor is specially altered to emit specific wavelengths of light, as a full spectrum of light is not beneficial to algae growth. In fact, ultraviolet irradiation is actually detrimental as it inhibits photosynthesis, photoreduction, and the 520 nm light-dark absorbance change of algae.

This bioreactor also addresses another key issue in algal cell growth; introducing CO2 and nutrients to the algae without disrupting or over-aerating the algae. Origin Oils Inc. combats this issues through the creation of their Quantum Fracturing technology. This process takes the CO2 and other nutrients, fractures them at extremely high pressures and then deliver the micron sized bubbles to the algae. This allows the nutrients to be delivered at a much lower pressure, maintaining the integrity of the cells.


Proviron has been working on a new type of reactor (using flat plates) which reduces the cost of algae cultivation. At AlgaePARC similar research is being conducted using 4 grow systems (1 open pond system and 3 types of closed systems). According to René Wijffels the current systems do not yet allow algae fuel to be produced competitively. However using new (closed) systems, and by scaling up the production it would be possible to reduce costs by 10X, up to a price of 0,4 € per kg of algae.


Genifuel Corporation has licensed the high temperature/pressure fuel extraction process and has been working with the team at the lab since 2008. The company intends to team with some industrial partners to create a pilot plant using this process to make biofuel in industrial quantities.[92] Genifuel process combines hydrothermal liquefaction with catalytic hydrothermal gasification in reactor running at 350 Celsius (662 Fahrenheit) and pressure of 3000 PSI.