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Scaleup for a test facility to grow algae for biofuels

By Tetsuo Satoh |

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO, Kawasaki; www.nedo.go.jp) and partners IHI Corp. (Tokyo; www.ihi.co.jp), Kobe University (www.kobe-u.ac.jp) and Neo-Morgan Laboratory Inc. (NML; Kawasaki, all Japan; www.neo-morgan.com) have completed construction on an outdoor test site with 1,500-m2 of pond surface area for further development work on the production of biofuels (including jet fuel) from algae. Located at Nanatsu Island, Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, the facility will start up next month, and be used for developing a complete process for biofuel production, including the extraction process, working to lower production costs and enable stable mass-production. The facility is part of the NEDO project, “Development of the application technology of the strategic next-generation bio-mass energy.” The project will be looking at further developing the algae, Botryococcus braunii, which has a good potential for algaculture because of the type of hydrocarbons (HCs) it produces, and the fact that up to 86 wt.% (dry) can be long-chain HCs, which can be hydrocracked into fuels. The main drawback for this promising algae had been its slow growth rate. But in 2013, IHI NeoG Algae LLC (a joint venture…
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