INL Signs Research Agreement Supporting Algae-to-Oil Technology
Bonneville County, ID: The Idaho National Laboratory signed a research agreement Feb. 17 with a Los Angeles-based biofuels company working on technology that transforms algae into oil.
The research program will focus on testing and commercial scaling of technology developed by OriginOil Inc., which uses specially tuned light frequencies to rapidly grow oily, lipid-rich algae, and then exposes it to high intensity injections of minerals, water and carbon dioxide to separate oils from the algae cells for refinement into fuel.
OriginOil says its technology may be able to quickly produce fuels and products including diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and solvents without the carbon emissions of petroleum or environmental impacts of other biofuel feedstocks like corn and sugarcane.
Idaho National Laboratory officials said supporting OriginOil’s process fulfills its national security mandate to develop advanced renewable energy technology.
“Our primary challenge is cost-effective and scalable industrial processes, and our partnership with OriginOil will help us find solutions to this challenge in the promising area of algae-to-oil technology,” said INL biofuels and renewable energy researcher Thomas Ulrich. “Partnerships with innovators like OriginOil will accelerate our pursuit of national energy independence initiatives.”