A maker of parts for biodiesel and ethanol operations says it has been awarded a “Notice of Allowance” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a device that is supposed to make it easier to harvest algae to make biofuels.
This press release from San Marcos, California-based Circle Biodiesel & Ethanol Corporation says the company received the notice for its Suction Dredge System and Method:
The most important step in making biofuels from algae a successful business is the recovery of the algae from its environment. Until now nobody had a safe, environmentally-friendly and economical way of recovering the algae. Circle Biodiesel & Ethanol Corporation has solved the issue of feedstock recovery by developing a dredge system that can recover algae in massive volumes in a continuous fashion without the need for human swimmers to handle or clear the dredge. The patented dredge head has an automatic obstacle-clearing feature. When an obstacle blocks the intake, it is automatically and immediately cleared by the dredge head itself, and then immediately the dredge head goes back to dredging again. That means there is no need to shut down and clear the dredge head. The process is nonstop.
“We have solved the issue of feedstock recovery by developing a dredge system that can recover the algae in massive volumes. The cost savings are from the lower labor headcount and continuous dredging of higher volumes of algae than were previously possible before our invention. The increased safety for operating personnel who can now stay completely onboard is also a consideration,” said [CEO Peter] Schuh.
The company also has a separate utility patent application for its method of removing algae oil from the green microbe.