OriginOil has seen many successes the past few months and today they have achieved another. The company has succeeded in extracting algae oil on a continuous basis without cell sacrifice. This process, which OrginOil has coined ‘milking,’ joins the company’s Cascading Production technique to create a combined cycle which creates additional process efficiencies. Aside from any production gains, combining the two processes is desirable because algae cultures must be refreshed regularly to remove waste toxins. Cascading Production supports Live Extraction by removing a percentage of the culture every day, refreshing the environment and giving the algae culture space to grow.
Milking, or Live Extraction, is efficient because it achieves continuous production of algae oil without destroying the algae cell. Consequently, a single algae cell can produce more oil during its lifetime using lower amounts of energy. This process is also different from others in that OriginOil’s process does not use expensive consumables such as reverse osmosis membranes nor is it limited to oil-bearing algae strains.
Usually, algae protect their oil behind a tough cell wall. The challenge of live extraction is to harvest the oil without causing permanent damage to the cell. This goal has been achieved in the laboratory at bench scale and is now being scaled up to OriginOil’s intermediate 200-gallon tank size.
“We are pleased with the results we are getting from conventional harvesting,” said Vikram Pattarkine, PhD, OriginOil’s CTO. “We expect the new Live Extraction process to coexist with our daily ‘destructive’ process to create an even more efficient combined cycle.” The company recently filed for patent protection of the new Live Extraction process.