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Aquaflow ties in with another US algae-based fuel project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 10 NZPA - Nelson-based biofuels entrepreneur Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation says it has picked up another role in a multi-million dollar American project involving the United States Government's interest in algae-based fuels.

Aquaflow will collaborate, as a co-funding partner, with the United States Gas Technology Institute (GTI) on an advanced biomass conversion technology programme worth $US3.1 million ($NZ4.2m), which will be part-funded by the US Department of Energy (DoE).

"We have reached another major milestone in expanding our US-based partnerships and project involvement and we are delighted to be working with GTI," Aquaflow director Nick Gerritsen said.

Terry Marker, bioenergy initiatives manager at Illinois-based GTI, said the project would demonstrate the conversion of algae biomass directly to gasoline and diesel fuel.

"At GTI we believe the key to future algae utilisation is developing economical processes for converting algae to hydrocarbon fuels."

In March, Aquaflow announced it would be working with Honeywell's UOP Llc to use carbon dioxide byproduct from nylon manufacture to produce algae. Oil from the algae is to be made into biofuel, and the residue also converted to a fuel for generating renewable electricity. That $US1.5m ($NZ2.07m) project also involves the DoE.

Both US projects demonstrated the breadth of the Aquaflow technology platform and its ability to work with partners to target and develop specific solutions, Mr Gerritsen said.

"This work will herald the next generation of renewable fuels and chemicals from fresh algae biomass."

Aquaflow would continue to develop its own biomass conversion technology in parallel with the US projects. Investors in the company are separately involved in using a giant microwave to turn organic materials into gases, oils and "biochar".

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