OriginOil Completes and Looks To Patent Live Algae Oil Extraction Process

OriginOil Inc. announced that it has succeeded in extracting algae oil on a continuous basis without cell sacrifice. This new “milking” process could join the company’s Cascading Production technique to create a combined cycle promising new efficiencies.

The company’s Live Extraction process, or “milking”, is designed to achieve continuous production of algae oil without destroying the algae cell. Therefore a single algae cell can produce more oil during its lifetime using lower amounts of energy. OriginOil’s process does not employ consumables such as reverse osmosis membranes and it is not limited to oil-bearing algae strains, such as Botryococcus braunii, that are known to excrete algae oil naturally.

Algae typically protect their oil behind a tough cell wall. The challenge of live extraction is to harvest the oil without causing permanent damage to the cell. This goal has been achieved in the laboratory at bench scale and is now being scaled up to OriginOil’s intermediate 200-gallon tank size.

The company recently filed for patent protection of the new Live Extraction process, its ninth patent application, entitled “Procedure for Extraction of Lipids from Algae without Cell Sacrifice.”

Following ExxonMobil’s recent announcement of a $600 million investment in Synthetic Genomics, Paul Reep, senior technical adviser at OriginOil and one of the inventors, said, “Live lipid extraction is especially beneficial when used with algae that have been genetically engineered for faster growth rate or higher lipid yields. By integrating Live Extraction into our process, we are providing a technology platform for companies like Synthetic Genomics that are experimenting with genetic improvements.”

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