Israel is getting a pond scum-to-fuel plant. This week Seattle-based startup Inventure Chemical clarified its partnership with Israeli algae-producer Seambiotic. The two companies say together they willbuild a pilot algae-to-biofuel plant that will use algae fed with carbon emissions. (We previously profiled Inventure here)
The joint venture seems like a sensible match. Five-year-old Seambiotic has been growing algae in eight open algae ponds and has been working with both Inventure Chemical and the Israeli Electric Company, utilizing IEC’s smokestack for a source of CO2 to feed its algae. (Our mention of Seambiotic in our 15 algae startups to watch.) Inventure, on the other hand, has been working on the process that turns the algae into different types of fuels, and the company’s CEO Mark Tegen told us previously that the company wouldn’t build its own plants, but would seek to find a partner.
Inventure makes a reactor system that uses thermochemical processes and catalysts to turn the algae into three types of fuel: biodiesel, a fermentable sugar solution and a concentrated protein solution. Inventure is also working with Arizona utility the Arizona Public Service and biodiesel maker Imperium Renewables. Don’t expect to see algae-based fuel on the market right away. Inventure’s Tegan says he still thinks that the algae-to-fuel goal is “several years away.”