New Molecular Toolkit Optimizes Algae Performance and Productivity
August 18, 2009
Today, Aurora Biofuels announces a technological milestone in the company's path to becoming the premier producer of low-cost advanced biofuels. Through a series of biotechnology achievements, Aurora has succeeded in optimizing its base algae strains to more than double CO2 consumption and fuel production, and has proven these results in an outdoor open system over the last several months.
Using tools developed in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry, Aurora Biofuels scientists have developed a proprietary process which allows for the superior selection and breeding of non-transgenic algae. With this novel technique, the company has optimized its base algae strains with an increased ability to process sunlight and carbon dioxide into algal oil. As a result, these algae strains can produce more than twice the amount of oil. Optimized algae have been producing oil in Aurora Biofuels' outdoor pilot ponds for several months, providing strong evidence that these strains will remain robust at the industrial scale and remove more carbon emissions than previously thought possible.
"This is a major breakthrough showing that one can take algae with improved productivity from the research lab to the field. What Aurora scientists have achieved is an impressive milestone on the path to large-scale commercial algae production," said Kris Niyogi, a member of the company's scientific advisory board and professor of algal biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
"This is a game-changing development for our company, as our newly optimized algae, novel harvesting and extraction processes create a world-class, low-cost biofuel platform," said Bob Walsh, CEO of Aurora Biofuels. "There's a lot of noise about algae lately, but it's all talk until you prove it outdoors," he said. "This advancement, now proven for months in our pilot ponds, shows that we've met that rigid criteria and are now ready for the demonstration scale."
Aurora Biofuels manufactures fuel from optimized algae in a patented production process. Leading technologists at Aurora Biofuels have engineered a cost-competitive and scalable method for fuel generation, using robust and highly-productive custom algae strains. The Aurora Biofuels process is carbon-mitigating and non-competitive with agricultural resources, and capable of industrial yields with a minimal land requirement. Aurora Biofuels investors include: Oak Investment Partners, Noventi Ventures and Gabriel Venture Partners.
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