IIt may be green, slimy and not all that appealing to look at, but Kiwi company Aquaflow has been converting algae into alternative energy for some time now. In a move that bodes well for the commercialisation of its technology, the company has just announced the signing of a major agreement with Texas-based CRI Catalyst Company, a provider of catalyst and process technology to the global renewable fuel market.
The two companies will test and evaluate projects that bring together Aquaflow’s algal capability and IH2 technology to produce commercially viable cellulosic hydrocarbon fuels and blend stocks. Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2) technology cost-effectively converts biomass directly into renewable gasoline, jet and diesel hydrocarbon blendstocks.
CRI has acquired exclusive global sublicensing rights for the IH2 technology from Illinois-based Gas Technology Institute (GTI) where the technology was developed. Both Aquaflow and CRI have supported the development of the IH2 technology via participation in GTI projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Aquaflow director Nick Gerritsen said the agreement is the culmination of four years of behind the scenes work undertaken by Aquaflow.
He added the company will set its initial focus on setting up a demonstration facility — probably in the US — as a base from which it can expand other project opportunities “currently in the Aquaflow pipeline”.
In 2006 Aquaflow announced it had produced the world’s first bio-diesel derived from wild micro-algae sourced from local sewerage ponds. Last year the company announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Impulse Devices, Inc (IDI) of California, with the companies together working on developing next generation technology to produce low-cost, renewable energy and chemicals, among other applications.