Los Angeles, California-based OriginOil has developed a patented process that keeps algae healthy and productive by selectively eliminating microscopic predators without the use of chemicals.
Microscopic invaders, such as rotifers, reduce the value of algae crops by metabolising valuable oil and biomass. Additionally, invasions can choke off algae growth and reduce a daily harvest. The problem exists in all types of growth systems, but most acutely in open ponds.
OriginOil’s patented Algae Screen is claimed to solve that issue by targeting invaders with calibrated pulses of low-power electromagnetic energy that leave the algae safe. The pulsing and power levels are adjustable for different algae types and environmental conditions such as water hardness and salinity.
The electromagnetic pulse used in the Algae Screen process uses a technique that is similar to the so-called Live Extraction process used by the company to stimulate the algae cells, maintaining healthy algae cultures while continuously harvesting oil from them.
At any time in the continuous process, only some algae cells are ready for extraction. The Live Extraction process harvests these cells while the ’unripe’ cells continue to grow. The harvested cells will eventually regenerate oils for another harvest.
The process enables OriginOil to extract algae oil on a continuous basis without destroying the algae cell. Therefore, a single algae cell can produce more oil during its lifetime using lower amounts of energy.
The company plans to offer both its Algae Screen and Live Extraction processes in one integrated offering for growers.