California-based Green Star Products, Inc. announced today that it has completed the second phase of testing its facility that turns algae into biodiesel.
According to this company press release, the company has been testing the five most important operating parameters that need to be controlled at its Montana facility including daily and seasonal pond temperatures, pH, evaporation, salinity, and invasion by outside organisms… some of the toughest challenges facing the commercial microalgae industry:
Mr. Joseph LaStella, President of GSPI, stated “The GSPI demonstration facility which is a full-size module of our planned production facility furnished GSPI with a wealth of field information and patentable low-cost construction techniques.”
Phase II testing included pushing the survival environmental envelope of the developed algae strain (zx-13) utilized by GSPI.
Mr. LaStella further stated, “The zx-13 strain survived at elevated temperatures, much higher than any tested in most of the available literature over the last 50 years. Temperature testing by Universities usually cuts off at 90 Degrees Fahrenheit, this zx-13 strain successfully endured peak temperatures of 115 Degrees Fahrenheit for several hours on successive days.”
One test result Green Star officials didn’t anticipate was how fast the algae would grow, and that has prompted them to consider a much larger 500 to 1,000-acre facility than the current 100-acre test plot.
The press release goes on to point out some real advantages to using algae instead of traditional oil-producing crops such as outproducing oilseeds by 100 times, algae eat global-warming CO2 gas and produce oxygen, it uses only sunshine and non-drinkable water, and doesn’t compete with food crops for land or fresh water.