OriginOil, Inc., a company that has developed technology to extract oil from algae to be a competitor with petroleum, has invented a process that will be able to get hydrogen from the living algae.
This company press release says the new Hydrogen Harvester will use little or no external energy inputs, requires no sulfur deprivation or other “stressing” of the algae, and no genetic modification:
“One of the primary challenges for algae production is to achieve the best-possible energy balance,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO. “By harvesting hydrogen from algae we are able to increase the energy output of virtually any algae production system. The result is a photosynthetic technology platform that yields energy in the form of oil, biomass, and hydrogen.”
Algae already create oxygen through photosynthesis. Recovering hydrogen provides the necessary ingredients for electricity generation using fuel cells. The energy can be used to offset the electricity requirements of algae cultivation, harvesting and downstream processing.
Dr. Brian Goodall, OriginOil’s new CTO, commented: “The co-generation of hydrogen at the algae production site is a critical development for the realization of a completely integrated algal biorefinery. All routes from algae to ‘drop-in’ fuels such as renewable diesel and jet fuel require hydrogen and hydrotreating. The Hydrogen Harvester technology would eliminate the need for hydrogen pipelines and dependence on existing refineries which are typically far removed from ideal sites for algae growth.”
The press release goes on to say that the Hydrogen Harvester is becoming part of OriginOil’s stable of algae growth technologies.