Our algae grow in saltwater inside photobioreactors using no freshwater. In fact, we can design a DIRECT TO ETHANOL® facility to provide valuable freshwater as a co-product with the ethanol. For each gallon of ethanol produced in the DIRECT TO ETHANOL® process 2 gallons of fresh water can be provided.
With clear plastic photobioreactors, our DIRECT TO ETHANOL® technology does not require valuable land, such as farmland; low-cost, non-arable land or desert lands are preferred.
Algenol’s process consumes and recycles carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere, and converts it into valuable transportation fuel in an energy-efficient manner. In addition, for every gallon of Algenol’s ethanol being used, a gallon of fossil-fuel gasoline is displaced.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have examined the DIRECT TO ETHANOL® process, and authored a detailed peer-reviewed study of its greenhouse gas emissions. This Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) demonstrated that Algenol’s process easily meets the Renewable Fuel Standard for cellulosic ethanol of a 60% reduction in carbon footprint compared to that of gasoline. For many of the scenarios that the Georgia Tech team considered, Algenol’s process also met the more stringent advanced biofuel standard of an 80% reduction in carbon footprint from gasoline. This life cycle analysis (LCA) study was published in October 2010 and to-date is the only peer-reviewed study of its kind. Click here to read LCA paper
To put the results of the study in perspective, the chart shown below compares the carbon footprint for transportation fuels, expressed as grams of CO2 (or its equivalent) emitted per mega-joule of energy delivered to the wheels of the vehicle. The carbon footprint of ethanol made from Algenol’s DIRECT TO ETHANOL® process is far superior to that of any other option available today, including electric vehicles.
Algenol’s enhanced algae use fermentation pathway enzymes to convert products of photosynthesis “sugars” into ethanol, these are the same as the enzymes in the bread you eat and the beer and wine you drink. Algenol has established a comprehensive, proactive and transparent approach to regulatory affairs at the federal, state and local levels. Part of that effort includes collaboration with government agencies and academic institutions to design and conduct extensive environmental studies that demonstrate the environmental safety of the DIRECT TO ETHANOL® process. In order to contain and collect our evaporative ethanol, our algae are deployed in closed and sealed photobioreactors made from durable polyethylene. Algenol has operated licensed and highly regulated laboratory and outdoor aquaculture facilities since 2006 and has been in good standing with all of the federal and state agencies that regulate our operations at all times.
Algenol has conducted many tests to affirm that our algae are not toxin producers, including both toxicology screening and whole genome analysis of our algae. Algenol algae cannot make toxins. In addition, Algenol’s algae are not plant pests, and do not damage crops or trees or plants. Most importantly, Algenol’s algae have been repeatedly tested for invasiveness in water samples from the Gulf of Mexico, Estero Bay, large rivers, canals and ditches around our property. In all cases, our algae are not able to out compete native algae and other plants and in all cases are non-invasive. These tests have been run multiple times and always demonstrate the Algenol algae are safe. Algenol will continue to run these tests as improvements are made in commercial algae strains.