June 21, 2011
Alameda, California, USA
MWH and John Holland Awarded Initial Engineering Contract for Commercial Facility
Aurora Algae today announced it has awarded MWH and John Holland (JH) the initial engineering contract for design and construction of the Company's commercial facility in Maitland, Western Australia. Having just secured over 1,500 acres of land near its recently opened demonstration facility in Karratha, this signifies a concrete advancement in the process of constructing the largest commercial scale photosynthetic algae facility in the world. Aurora Algae's commercial facility will be equipped to manufacture thousands of tonnes of algae-based biomass annually for the production of sustainable products in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, aquaculture and renewable energy markets.
Concurrently, Aurora Algae has achieved Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status, a designation granted by the Hon. Anthony Albanese, Australia's Minister of Infrastructure and Transport. Aurora Algae's cutting-edge cleantech project has been recognized for its potential to help Australia take advantage of the global economic recovery as well as the commercial opportunities flowing from international efforts to cut carbon pollution. The MPF program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, and provides the project with a facilitation service to achieve quick and timely assistance from the Australian Government. Presently, there are 19 projects with MPF status across a range of industries, collectively representing a potential investment of over $120 billion. "I'm happy to grant Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to Aurora Algae Pty Ltd's progressive cleantech project," said Anthony Albanese, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Australia. "With the right support from government, Australia can become a world leader in renewable technologies such as Aurora Algae's, with the real potential of creating tens of thousands of highly skilled 'green' collar jobs and new export opportunities."
To initiate construction plans for the Maitland commercial facility, the Company chose MWH engineering firm, a global leader in wet infrastructure, and JH, the largest multidiscipline construction contracting business in Australia, to combine their expertise in the joint venture. The two companies have worked together on projects for over 30 years, with MWH as the lead designer on the $3.12 billion Panama Canal navigational locks construction (to be completed in 2014), onsite water management services for Rio Tinto, one of Australia's biggest mining companies, and an industrial wastewater pre-treatment system for The Dannon Company. JH is currently delivering the Devil Creek Development Project, a $200 million onshore gas plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and has recently completed the Sydney Desalination Plant, Australia's largest desalination plant which uses reverse osmosis process technology to supply up to 15 percent of Sydney's total water supply. JH is also currently working in a joint venture to deliver the Hong Kong Sludge Treatment facility, a 2,000 metric tonnes per day waste treatment facility generating its own energy (to be completed in 2013).
"The John Holland team is excited to be working with Aurora Algae and MWH to deliver this commercial-scale new technology carbon reduction project that will have a positive benefit on the environment," said Greg Taylor, general manager of John Holland's Water and Enviro business.
"Aurora Algae is now the first global company to begin a commercial project for bioproduct and biofuel production based on photosynthetic marine microalgae," said Greg Bafalis, CEO of Aurora Algae. "Awarding the initial engineering contract advances us one step closer to the commercialization of our revolutionary platform, and the ongoing support and validation from the Australian government, through achievements such as MPF status, is a key driver for our rapid progress."
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 Biofuels 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