Algenol ethanol plant will have capacity to produce 18 MMgy

By Ann Bailey | September 17, 2015

Within the next two years, Algenol Biotech LLC will have a plant in central Florida with the capacity to annually produce 18 MMgy of ethanol made from algae.

The biotechnology company and Protec Fuel Management LLC have entered into an agreement to distribute and sell the ethanol produced from algae. Algenol has entered an agreement with a power plant and is finalizing selection of a central Florida land site, said Paul Woods, Algenol founder and CEO.

In the meantime, Algenol and Protec Fuel will distribute and sell ethanol from Algenol’s Fort Myers Florida 2-acre commercial demonstration module. The module has the capacity to produce 16,000 gallons of ethanol per year.

Algenol has developed a patented technology using algae to produce the four most widely used fuels, ethanol, gasoline, jet and diesel fuel, for about $1.30 per gallons. The majority of the fuel—about 85 percent—will be ethanol, Woods said.

The company captures, recycles and utilizes CO2 used as feedstock for the algae. The Clean Power Plan has identified that approach as a qualifying technology for reducing carbon emissions. Its pathway reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 percent per gallon compared with traditional gasoline, according to the official EPA pathway approval.

A 2,000-acre commercial Algenol module is the equivalent of planting 40 million trees or removing 36,000 cars from the road, according to an Algenol news release. By using algae to convert carbon dioxide emissions into fuels, Algenol has developed a fossil fuel that yields 20 times greater than corn, according to the company.

Protec Fuel will distribute and sell the fuel as E15 and E85 at retail stations for general consumption and fleets. While the partnership of Algenol Biotech and Protech Fuel initially will focus distribution of the fuel in Florida, the agreement provides for expansion into a national partnership scope as Algenol develops projects in other markets.

The key components and priority of ethanol’s use are sustainability, cleaner air and to provide the United States with low-cost fuel, Woods said. The ability to offer Algenol, which accomplishes all three of those goals, bolsters the future of advanced biofuels, he said.