In what would be a first, Green Star Products (GSPI) has announced that is building a commercial algae facility, located next to an existing biodiesel plant. Continuously harvesting algae from a pond or bioreactors appears to be the major technological step to be overcome before biodiesel production becomes feasible. It was not stated in the new press release what technology would be used to produce the algae. Presumably it would use its HAPS technology, shown above, which they describe as follows: "The GSPI (licensed) algae system (which) is a Hybrid Algae Production System (HAPS) that incorporates the controlled environment of the closed photobioreactors coupled with inexpensive construction technology to reduce the cost to a level very close to the open pond systems." However in a in a previous project, earlier post, (which has been canceled due to financial problems of the customer) the customer had negotiated with Greenfuels Technologies, previous post, to use their reactors. GSPI uses a low cost continuous flow reactor, earlier post, each rated at 10 million gallons per year, to make biodiesel. GSPI has also developed an algae strain, that it believes is superior to other strains.
Among the advantages of using algae to make biodiesel the three that stand out to me are 1) algae is a non-food feedstock 2) it can be produced on land that is not suitable for agriculture, such as in deserts 3) the amount of land required is much less than that for oilseed crops.
If all the technical problems are resolved the remaining issue is whether biodiesel can be produced economically, without subsidies. Through the use of their reactors and presumably HAPS, GSPI may obtain low enough costs to be competitive. Another problem is that GSPI is a penny stock and its financial future is unclear to me. Its business plan appears to be to partner with someone with greater resources to build the plants, in return for its patents and knowhow, and then sharing the royalties from the biodiesel production with its partner.
The following is a slightly edited version of the press release regarding the new algae production facility.
Biotech Research, Inc. (BTR), who is a Consortium partner with GSPI, has signed the contract with GSPI to start initial preparation and material acquisition for field construction to begin in March 2008.
The 100-acre Algae Facility will be constructed adjacent to an existing biodiesel plant and will use the CO2 emitted from the biodiesel plant's boilers to feed a portion of the algae facility needs (CO2 mitigation), which will reduce Global Warming emissions.
The algae oil produced from the facility will be turned into biodiesel through the existing biodiesel plant facilities.
GSPI will construct the algae production facility and operate it for 18-months and will participate in ongoing royalties with BTR from sales of algae oil and high protein meal. . . .
BTR has formulated business plans to build several 1,000-acre Algae Facilities, each in conjunction with a GSPI Biodiesel Processing facility.
The press release dated Nov. 9, 2007 has further details on GSPI Consortium partners and sustainable energy strategies.
GSPI completed a successful Phase I and II, 40,000-liter demonstration algae facility in 2007 (see press releases dated May 11 and July 9, 2007, pictures related to algae demo plant operations and two-minute video on Green Star's website GreenStarUSA.com).