Algae farming for biofuel production. (Photo: BAL Chile/FIS)
Algae farming boosted for biofuel production
Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
BAL Chile SA is dedicated to farming algae on the island of Chiloé, and in a second stage, plans to produce biofuels for industrial use.
This was announced by Benjamin González, the company manager of administration and finance with origin in BioArchitectureLab, a firm based in the US dedicated to releasing macroalgae potential in the most cost-effective and sustainable way possible.
"Within the next five years we expect to be producing at commercial scale," said González according to Aqua.
He added: "At present, BAL is developing algae farming on the island of Chiloé and we are looking for alternatives to expand our testing in the north. There has been significant algal productivity improvements and cost reductions."
In two years the company expects to achieve the necessary production parameters for the commercial viability of the production of carbohydrates based on seaweed aquaculture farming," he added.
González explained that as macroalgae grow in the water, they do not have lignin, a compound in which plants tend to store sugars and that makes biodisposition difficult.
"This, together with the enzymes produced by the microbes developed by BAL, makes entry easier and more economical to these sugars," he added.
According to the businessperson, BAL is investigating the best practices and known techniques in order to adapt them so as to optimize algae farming "without interfering with any other business or uses of the sea."
González said that in Chile, BAL established strategic alliances with DuPont and Statoil to carry out this initiative.
It also has financial support from various private equity firms, such as X/Seed (Silicon Valley), Capital Austral (Chile), Energy Capital Management (Norway), the Department of Energy (US) and Innova Corfo (Chile) .
By Analia Murias