Newly incorporated British Algoil, an SME specialised in developing green products through use of algae, solar energy and biochemical engineering, has employed new members of staff and is rapidly progressing their patented technology by working with University of York spin-out, the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC).
British Algoil is working on an innovative new piece of equipment, a patented PhotoBioreactor, that combines solar-powered LED lights and specialised reactors for rapid growth of algae.
“Algae technology has a recognised potential to revolutionise the production of everyday products,” explains David Hawkins, CEO at British Algoil. “Our technology is unique by combining solar, wind and energy storage, which allows us to operate the plant cost-effectively 24x7.”
Once the equipment is fine-tuned it is expected to offer a significant commercial opportunity in the production of sustainable chemicals for use in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and biofuels.
“Our work with British Algoil will explore optimal growing conditions for a specific variety of algae,” says Dr Fiona Taylor, Senior Technologist at the BDC. “One of the areas we are investigating are the LED lighting conditions so that the algae can reach its optimum growth rate – where it can double in 5-8 hours.“
British Algoil won a capital grant to develop their proto-type through the BDC’s ERDF*-funded capital grants scheme which has enabled them to focus on their technology rather than sourcing investors. Working with the BDC has also allowed the start-up to house their proto-type in one of the BDC facilities, which further de-risks the innovation process.
To make the most out of the expertise available at the BDC, British Algoil have employed a year in industry student, Lydia Buckley from the University of York, to work closely with the specialists at the BDC.
"Working with the BDC is a fantastic opportunity for us and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our technology – the estimated market value for algal biofuel products alone is predicted to be worth USD 1.3 billion by 2020, are we are delighted to be a part of this emerging technology”, says David Hawkins.
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Story source: BDC media release, 28 Oct 2014