Louisiana’s Aquatic Energy moving from Pilot to Demo stage with Algae to Energy

In Louisiana, Aquatic Energy unveiled significant progress in its pilot algae-to-energy project in the Lake Charles-Lafayette corridor of the state. The company is now preparing to expand from a “couple of acre” pilot in Lake Charles, to an 30-acre demonstration project that will feature the company’s 1-acre open-pond system that is yielding 2500 gallons per acre without using an external CO2 source.

CEO David Johnston said that the company is able to support its yields with more than 70 percent of its CO2 coming from ambient CO2 in the atmosphere, with the remainder generated from the natural gas burned in the last stage of the algae drying process. The company said it is generating 32-34 tons per acre of algae biomass for the animal feed market, with a goal of 40 tons of meal per acre in the proposed expansion.

The company said it has funds identified to take it through the demonstration phase, but expects to raise $32 million for a 617-acre commercial-scale expansion, which will generate 1.5 Mgy in algal fuel and 24,500 tons of algae meal.

Johnston said that the 617 (250 hectare) acre size is the minimum scale necessary for a stand-alone operation. The company projects that it will reach 5000 hectares in production by 2016.

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