Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Commercial scale" algal biofuels planned, Egypt; other algal news


Launch of commercial scale Seawater-Based biofuels project in Egypt
algal biofuels planned

(Houston, Texas - March 29, 2010) Energy Allied International, a Houston-based energy projects development company, and The Seawater Foundation and Global Seawater, Inc., pioneers in the development of Integrated Seawater Agriculture Systems (ISAS), have executed an MOU to jointly develop the world's first commercial scale seawater-based biofuels project in Egypt--"New Nile Co." New Nile Co will be one of the largest biofuels investments to date in the Middle East or Africa.

ISAS is an Advanced Biofuels production model that utilizes effluent from seawater aquaculture (e.g. fish and shrimp ponds) as a natural fertilizer to cultivate sizable plantations of salicornia, a halophyte (i.e. naturally salt resistant plant) capable of yielding large volumes of high grade vegetable oil for use as a biofuel feedstock. According to Dr. Carl Hodges, Chairman of The Seawater Foundation and Co-Chairman of Global Seawater, Inc, "Energy Allied International's expertise in developing large scale energy projects in the Middle East and Africa, tied with The Seawater Foundation's and Global Seawater, Inc.'s extensive knowledge of developing and operating ISAS models, is a winning combination to ensure the success of the world's first, commercial scale, seawater-based biofuels project."

Unlike First Generation Biofuels producers which threaten to displace traditional food crops (e.g. corn) due to reliance upon freshwater and nutrient-rich soil, New Nile Co will produce Advanced Biofuels by applying the ISAS model, which relies exclusively upon the use of untreated seawater and arid, desert and degraded lands that are currently unproductive. Mike Nassar, Chairman of Energy Allied International, states that "New Nile Co is poised to launch a great agricultural revolution in Egypt, by making productive use of the country's abundant agricultural-skilled labor, unlimited access to seawater and vast desert lands."

New Nile Co intends to produce tens of millions of liters of biofuels from a fifty thousand hectares (roughly 125,000 acres) project site. Together with Gensler, one of the world's leading architecture design firms and the project's lead Planning Advisor, the developers are presently assessing a number of potential site locations situated inland, along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlines. Having already successfully applied the ISAS model in Eritrea, following extensive research and development in Mexico, the developers are confident of achieving similar positive results in Egypt.

In addition to automotive markets requiring the use of blended biofuels, New Nile Co will target the European civil aviation market which is subject to strict EU regulations, with aviation entering the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012. New Nile Co's developers are presently engaged in discussions with the Egyptian government with respect to the potential project site locations and intend to complete the bankable feasibility study in 2010, with construction to begin in early 2011.


For further information, please email or visit Energy Allied International, The Seawater Foundation and Global Seawater, Inc.

© Press Release 2010

Biofuels researcher and Eisenhower Fellow Associate Professor Ben Hankamer

Biofuels researcher and Eisenhower Fellow Associate Professor Ben Hankamer

A University of Queensland researcher has met with US political and business leaders to fast-track biofuel development after winning a top international fellowship. Associate Professor Ben Hankamer from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) was awarded a 2009 Eisenhower Fellowship, one of only two in Australia and 25 worldwide. These prestigious awards are granted to those identified as international leaders in areas of energy, technology and supply. Dr Hankamer is a founding Director of the Solar Biofuels Consortium,
Solar Biofuels a group of over 70 researchers at UQ and overseas working to maximise the development of high-efficiency microalgal biofuel production systems. "The development of clean fuels for the future is one of the most urgent challenges facing society due to the need to address climate change and secure fuel supplies," Dr Hankamer said. "Using microalgae has several advantages over traditional biofuel sources, as the production systems can be located on non-arable land, eliminating competition with food production. They also have the potential to store carbon, which would help in reducing CO2 levels." The Eisenhower Fellowship allowed Dr Hankamer to tailor a six-week program of meetings with up to 80 researchers, UQ Senators and Members of Congress from both sides of the biofuels debate, in addition to CEOs from top industry organisations including microalgae producers, biofuel producers and transport companies. From these meetings, he gained further insight into the most efficient methods of producing biofuels, as well as the political climate and the needs of end consumers. UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield congratulated Dr Hankamer and said the fellowship would deliver long term benefits through access to high-level contacts who will facilitate further international co-operation. "An Eisenhower Fellowship continues to deliver returns long after the recipient finishes the initial round of meetings," Professor Greenfield said. "Dr Hankamer now has lifelong membership of the fellows' network, which gives him privileged access to outstanding leaders whom he can trust for advice as he works on sustainable fuels for the future." The Eisenhower scheme is chaired by former US Secretary of State General Colin Powell, and encompasses around 1700 fellows from a broad range of industries and occupations. Media: Bronwyn Adams (07 3346 2134,

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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