On the road to cost effective algae: Recent advances at Heliae via partnerships and process integration

M. Olaizola
Heliae Development, LLC,
United States

Keywords: algae, biofuel

Summary:

Heliae is an innovative algae technology company utilizing 3 growth platforms (phototrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic) for multiple strains of microalgae. The platforms are utilized for a wide variety of product lines, including human nutrition, animal nutrition and agriculture. We have the ability to choose the appropriate platform and scale depending on the type of product and market. In this presentation we will share some of our thoughts on cultivation mode and scale, and how this relates to cost, as well as share updates on our newest collaborative projects with partners in the US and abroad. Microalgae can produce a myriad of chemicals with applications in food, feed, agriculture and fuel industries. But microalgae production has historically been very expensive. The full promise of microalgae will not be realized until costs are brought down (by orders of magnitude). Our mission is to lower those costs through innovation as well as partnering with other likeminded groups. In this presentation we will 1. discuss costs of microalgae production, 2. report on our partnering efforts and 3. share some of the approaches we are investigating to lower the cost of microalgae production. Specifically, we will discuss the costs of producing microalgae biomass based on our own estimates and based on the sale price of different qualities of biomass available in the market; cost of available microalgae biomass ranges from a few dollars per kg to several hundred.We will also share our partnering efforts in Japan with Sincere Corporation to establish the cultivation of Haematococcus to produce astaxanthin for the human market. We will share a summary of our biomass and astaxanthin productivity data including that of experiments carried out in Saga City designed to confirm the earlier productivity estimates (based on experiments carried out in Arizona) and collocated with a waste incineration facility which can provide the necessary CO2.Finally, we will discuss our development efforts to lower the cost of microalgae biomass via integration with other processes that benefit from the functions of microalgae such as water reclamation. Process integration offers the best option for reducing biomass production costs so that the promise of microalgae can be realized.