InterviewAustralia’s Algae.Tec plans biofuel commercial ops by '14

11 April 2011 10:37  [Source: ICIS news]

By Serena Seng and Tahir Ikram

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Australia’s Algae.Tec plans to set up between one to three commercial plants in Australia, the United States and a third country by 2014 that will use high-yield algae to produce biofuels and biomass, its executive chairman said on Monday.

"We’re looking at early 2014 to have anywhere between one to three [commercial plants], lets’ say small-to-medium sized commercial plants in operation," the company’s executive chairman Roger Stroud told ICIS in an interview.

He said the small-to-medium commercial plants, or photo bioreactors, will have between 250 to 500 shipping containers growing algae in an enclosed environment to capture carbon dioxide and produce biofuels.

Algae, a second generation biofuel, is considered a better option by some environmentalists because it does not directly compete with food cultivation.

Each container can grow up to 250 tonnes of dry algae a year, Stroud added.

As an illustration of the kind of business the company could do, Stroud said hypothetically the company could have 100,000 containers in the United States by 2020.

“That, in broad terms, would capture 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide. Which is a lot, and would create a fuel feed – based on the numbers we’ve already discussed – about 25m tonnes.

“I mention that as an example of where this could go over that period of time. We’ll call it a hypothetical example at this stage, or, sorry, we’ll call it a target. A robust target but it’s achievable,” he added.

Algae.Tec, which was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in January this year and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange a month later in February, is hoping to start listing its American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) in the US “sometime next week”.

He said the company had chosen six species of algae out of the 60 it had studied to use to produce biofuels and biomass.

Currently, Algae.Tec is manufacturing demonstration modules of its algae-based bioreactors in Atlanta, which will then be shipped to Australia.

Preliminary discussions are being held this week with a German company that is looking into introducing Algae.Tec’s alternative source of energy to the southern part of Germany

According to Stroud Germany is “turning away” from nuclear energy in the wake of Japan’s nuclear reactor disaster.

“We don’t want to say that we’re going to change the world in 5 minutes – maybe in 20 years we will, but what we believe we do, we’ll continue to punch above our weight,” Stroud said.

“We’re a small company, but... there’s no reason why we can’t move and contribute to this ever-changing world.”

Please visit the complete ICIS plants and projects database

By: Serena Seng and Tahir Ikram
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