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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Early Stage Algae Biofuel Company Closes $10.5M Funding Round; Additional $5M for Pilot Plant

Green Car Congress

11 November 2008

WeyerSolix calculations on the theoretical maximum production of algal oil. (See below.) Click to enlarge. Source: Kristina Weyer, Solix Biofuels

Solix Biofuels, a Fort Collins, Colo.-based early-stage company focused on algae-based intermediates for fuel and chemical production (earlier post), has raised $10.5 million in its first round of outside funding, and has reached an agreement with investors for an additional commitment of $5 million, to be used to build an algae biofuel facility near Durango, Colo. The pilot project is intended to showcase Solix’s ability to produce biofuel and feedstocks for the chemicals industry at commercially-feasible production levels and costs. ...

Two primary factors contribute to algal oil yield: the productivity of the algae, and their lipid content as a percentage of the biomass. Both vary with the species of algae. ...

Solix says that currently, algae grown in photo-bioreactors at its headquarters yield more than five times the amount of fuel per acre of land per year than agriculture-based fuels including ethanol from corn and biodiesel from soy and canola, at their current commercial yields. ...

Solix engineers have created systems that automatically adjust for environmental changes such as sunlight and temperature to optimize growing conditions. The Solix system has the ability to capture emissions directly from power plants and factories.

Solix Biofuels is a spin-off and technology partner of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Solix seed funds were used to sponsor research by CSU faculty and graduate students to identify algae species with the best potential to grow at large scale and produce high yields of fuel and chemical feedstocks, and to develop technology that can bring the process to commercial scale. ...