May 04, 2011
Alameda, California, USA
New Milestones Trigger Approximately $1.7 Million AUD in Additional Grants and Tax Credits; Grand Opening Marked by the Attendance of Key Dignitaries
Aurora Algae today officially opened its demonstration facility in Karratha, Western Australia, where the Company's algae-based biomass is being harvested for products in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, aquaculture and renewable energy markets. The company has also secured an option agreement on over 1,500 acres of land located near its demonstration facility, which will allow it to begin the process of constructing a full-scale commercial facility equipped to manufacture thousands of tons of algae-based biomass annually.
Aurora Algae also today announced that it has received $946,000 AUD in additional LEEDS grant funding, and $750,000 AUD in research and development (R&D) tax credits from the Australian government for hitting key production and construction milestones. The company previously announced $750,000 AUD in LEEDS funding as part of a total potential grant of $2 million AUD.
"With our demonstration facility fully operational and the technology risk of our process removed, we are excited to be shipping product samples to partners and planning the construction of our proposed 1,500 acre Karratha commercial site," said Greg Bafalis, CEO of Aurora Algae. "This achievement validates our selection of Northwestern Australia as the first location for our photosynthetic growth platform and would not have been possible with a US-based production facility where we believe the climatic conditions are not economically viable to produce large-scale, cost competitive algae products. The combination of our proprietary algae strains and the optimal worldwide location for algae farming allow us to produce premium, algae-based products that are attractive and cost-competitive across a number of product segments."
Aurora Algae chose Western Australia as the location for its demonstration facility for the region's ideal environmental conditions. The Company's open-pond production method and proprietary pale green cultivar (PGC) algae strains thrive in dry, arid climates with large amounts of CO2 and seawater as feed stocks. Having met all of these important criteria, the city of Karratha was selected for the demonstration site, a 20-acre facility that currently has six one-acre production ponds. Today, Aurora Algae is producing more than 15 tonnes per month of algal biomass. With outstanding support from the local and national Australian government, Aurora Algae has been able to partner with local industry to help reduce carbon dioxide levels and produce high-value products, such as clean, renewable biodiesel for use by local companies.
"Aurora Algae is grateful for the tremendous government support it has received at every level- from the Shire of Roebourne, to the Western Australia State Government to the Federal Government-in assisting with getting our facility built on time and under budget," said Matthew Caspari, Aurora Algae's co-founder and managing director, Aurora Algae Pty Ltd. "Along the way, we've been able to collaborate with local industry and bring green collar jobs to the region, resulting in an economic and environmental 'win-win' for Western Australia. We look forward to expanding our new facility and providing clean, renewable biodiesel and other products to our Australian customers and partners."
The commissioning comes on the heels of Aurora Algae's recent move to a new U.S. facility and lab in Hayward, Calif. The Aurora Algae Hayward facility serves as the back-end processing center for all algae biomass products that the company ships to aquaculture, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and energy customers.
The grand opening of the demonstration facility is taking place today, featuring a "ribbon-cutting" ceremony that will highlight the Company's biofuel product, A2 FuelT, applied for the very first time to power a car that will lead tours of the new facility and algae ponds. Attendees will also hear a speech on Aurora Algae's impact on the Western Australia market and community by the Honourable Minister Brendon Grylls, MLA, Regional Minister for Regional Development, Lands.
Aurora Algae manufactures fuel from genetically optimized algae in a patented production process. Leading technologists at Aurora Algae have engineered a cost-competitive and scalable method for fuel generation, using robust and highly-productive custom algae strains. The Aurora Algae process is carbon-neutral, non-competitive with agricultural resources, and capable of industrial yields with a minimal land use. Aurora Algae investors include: Oak Investment Partners, Noventi Ventures and Gabriel Venture Partners.
Oak Investment Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm with a total of $8.4 billion in committed capital. The primary investment focus is on high growth opportunities in communications, information technology, internet new media, financial services, clean energy, healthcare services, and consumer retail. Over a 31-year history, Oak has achieved a strong track record as a stage-independent investor funding more than 481 companies at key points in their lifecycle.
Gabriel Venture Partners® is an early-stage venture capital firm committed to fostering innovation by actively assisting entrepreneurs in technology and technology-enabled businesses. Gabriel seeks investment opportunities in capital-efficient companies that have the potential to be market leaders. Gabriel is based in Silicon Valley and has over $260 million under management. Gabriel's investment team consists of seasoned technology entrepreneurs and industry executives, each with international operating experience and strong domain expertise. Representative investments include Placeware (acquired by Microsoft), NetScaler (acquired by Citrix), Iridigm (acquired by Qualcomm), LVL7 (acquired by Broadcom), NeoPath (acquired by Cisco) and IPWireless (acquired by Nextwave Wireless).
Noventi Ventures is Silicon Valley-based, early stage venture capital firm focused on building successful companies through the partnerships with entrepreneurs. Noventi leverages decades of operating experience, a global network of resources, and a proven record in venture investing to focus on opportunities at the convergence of technology, energy, and the environment. Noventi past investments include Bitfone (acquired by HP), EasyMarket (acquired by TUI), Sygate (acquired by Symantec) and M7 (acquired by BEA). For more information visit http://noventivc.com