Scale Up

Karratha becoming an algae proving ground

May 21, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

karrathamap

Aurora Algae – which currently operates a pilot plant in Karratha that turns algae into biofuel, omega-3 for the health food industry, and protein for animal feed – plans to build a larger, commercial plant at Maitland, near Karratha. Their request is now open for public comment.

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority’s Deputy Chairman, Dr. Paul Vogel, said that their organization recommended the Environment Minister approve the project, subject to certain conditions. “The issue we were primarily concerned about was that the ponds didn’t leak and then cause some sort of problem in groundwater…then later on at decommissioning make sure everything is decommissioned effectively.”

The local chamber of commerce and industry’s John Lally says the algae farm will help diversify the local economy. “As we move towards building a city, we need to diversify the economy,” he said. “There has been comment from some fairly recognized experts that this could grow into a very large industry.”

Meanwhile, Muradel, a company backed by Adelaide University, has abandoned developing its pilot plant to produce biofuel from algae in Karratha, saying it’s too expensive to continue research and development work in the region.

Karratha, with high temperatures and low rainfall, is a desirable location for evaporative algae growing operations. But Muradel is instead moving to Whyalla in South Australia because, since the company isn’t profitable yet, it didn’t make sense to stay.

Dr. David Lewis, chief technology officer of Muradel, said, “Unfortunately it’s very expensive for us to employ operators in Karratha because we have to compete with the salaries that operators get paid in the mining industry. For an R&D company it’s just not economically viable to pay those types of salaries.”

Potentially worth $50 billion a year for the Australian economy – according to a study titled Food and Fuel Forever, by Perth-based thinktank Future Directions International (FDI) – a new energy sector based on algal biofuels would produce fuel, food, stockfeed, plastics, textiles, paper, fertilizers, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and employ up to 50,000 Australians in new jobs.

“At current yields we could produce enough oil for all our transport needs from just 6000 square kilometers, the area of a single big sheep station,” says science writer Julian Cribb. “Oil from algae is liquid solar energy. The main thing you need to grow it is sunshine – and Australia has more of that per square meter than any country on Earth. That makes us potentially the world’s largest fresh oil province – the Saudi Arabia, if you like – of the 21st century.”

Read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-21/comment-sought-on-algaefarm-plan/4703452?&section=news

http://scinews.com.au/releases/779/view

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
University of Adelaide researchers are using nanotechnology and the fossils of diatoms to develop a novel chemical-free and resistance-free way of protecting stored grain...
Biomass abounds on Earth, as forests, fields, sewage and seaweed. But only a small fraction, mostly human or agricultural waste, can be harvested without posing environme...
Solazyme, Inc. has announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. “2013 was a year of great progress for Solazyme as we readied our first...
One of 12 winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award, the Ooho algae balloon was created by three London-based designers to contribute a solution to the rising number of plas...
Yereth Rosen reports in the Anchorage Daily News that scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute have found extremely high levels o...
Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial ...
In Phys.Org, Yu Yonehara notes the breakthrough research from the Tokyo Institute of Technology on the connection between early marine algae and the development of terres...
Four years after the first optimistic calculations, the experimental cultivation of algae at Wageningen University in the Netherlands appears to be meeting expectations. ...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
Algae Industry Magazine is pleased to announce a new Algae 101 series by our popular blogger, Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University. The Algae Solutions to Na...
Starting in the early 70s, agencies in the former USSR invested more than 20,000 person-years of research and development to produce Bio-Algae Concentrates (BAC) that hel...
A recent discovery in the multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri,has revealed the origin of male and female sexes, showing how they evolved from a more primitive mating...
Matthew Carr was recently named executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the leading trade association for the algae industry. His presence will soon b...
Channelnewsasia.com reports on three young Spaniards who harvest seaweed, a culinary delicacy, as a way for them to stay out of Spain’s troubled financial waters. 35-year...
The EPA has released the Annual Use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report. We now know that American farmers apply roughly a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally in...
Chase Ezell writes in Earth911.com about the irony of Algenol’s biggest friction source on the way to marketing their carbon reducing algal-based ethanol being — the EPA ...
A team of Michigan State University algae researchers have discovered a cellular "snooze button" that has the potential to improve biofuel production and offer ...
MicroBio Engineering, Inc., of San Luis Obispo, California, has introduced a full suite of open pond microalgae growth systems designed for quick deployment of research- ...