VG Energy, a subsidiary of Viral Genetics, has hired BioProcess Algae to verify the lab results for its biofuel process. VG Energy is preparing to take its process to commercial scale. On the pilot scale level, the company’s proprietary technology has produced algal-biofuels at prices they believe will be competitive with or better than current oil prices. However, before they make that claim at commercial scale production, VG Energy is looking for third-party scientific verification.
“VG Energy’s technology has shown great promise as a viable and cost-effective additive for alternative energy sources,” said Haig Keledjian, CEO of VG Energy and Viral Genetics. “We are thrilled to be working with BioProcess Algae to take the next steps and move from the laboratory to a viable production setting.”
VG Energy’s SVP Monica Ord facilitated the partnership that she said came together very quickly.
“I have Richard Branson and Mike Willis from Virgin Green to thank for the introduction to Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) and BioProcess Algae,” said Ord. “We have repeated our proof of principle research studies multiple times, internally and through Texas A&M, which have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the compound on a small scale. Bioprocess Algae gives us the ability to move quickly into full autotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic scale-up studies, and we are excited to begin.”
Dr. Karen Newell Rogers, lead researcher for VG Energy, discovered a process that increases lipid production in algae cells and considerably improves their rate of recyclability. More specifically, when Metabolic Disruption Technology (MDT) is applied to algae cells, the cells stored more lipids, or fat and production was increased by 300 percent or more. In addition, the process enables algae cells to release fats outside its cell walls making more of the algae recyclable.
The research was conducted with the help of Raleigh R. White, Jr. Endowed Professor of Surgical Research at Texas A&M Health Sciences Center and Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. In a modeling study by biofuels expert John Sheehan, it was shown that several different production techniques are enhanced by VG Energy’s process, and the improvement shows potential for lower-cost algal fuels.