When it comes to alternatives to some of the more conventional sources of oils for biofuels, many companies are looking to go green. And some, such as the folks at Algae.Tec, are looking to green shipping containers to grow a literal green feedstock.
“What we wanted was a significant bulk outcome, in other words fuels and possibly food, producing the algae for cents on the liter, where many of the pond solutions [cost] dollars per liter to make it work,” explains Roger Stroud, the Executive Chairman of the Australia-based company. He says Algae.Tec’s enclosed photo-bioreactor contained in 40-foot shipping containers is a way to produce the green pond scum for those pennies of what it costs in open-air ponds. And they’re looking at producing biodiesel, jet fuels, and even food sources from the algae grown. But Stroud says they are still working on the commercialization process with demonstration projects just south of Sydney, as well as research and development in Atlanta, Georgia. “We’re confident in the outcome.”
So why is Stroud so confident their system will be successful? Well, besides the testing and work they’ve done, he’s Australian, and that means he’s used to having to do big things against sometimes great odds. “Although [Australia] is a large continent, we’ve got [a small population]. So, we tend to be on the outside looking in, where in the U.S., you tend to be on the inside looking out,” and Australians have to look more to the world economy. That’s why Algae.Tec has worked vigorously to network globally. Projects pending in Brazil and Texas, as well as one in New South Wales, point to that global reach. Plus, he’s encouraged by the Americans’ commitment to algae and biofuels. It all comes down to the Australian, and maybe the algae industry’s, way of making the best of the opportunity that comes your way.
“We’re focused on our task, and we believe we can achieve a profitable outcome, given time.”
Listen to Joanna’s interview with Roger here: Interview with Roger Stroud, Algae.Tec