US 7,905,930 to Genifuel : sugar to heterotrophs to oil
A process for production of biofuels from algae, comprising: a) cultivating an oil-producing algae by promoting sequential photoautotrophic and heterotrophic growth, b) producing oil by heterotrophic growth of algae wherein the heterotrophic algae growth is achieved by introducing a sugar feed to the oil-producing algae; and c) extracting an algal oil from the oil-producing algae.
The priority claim: This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/877,786, filed on Dec. 29, 2006, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
US application: 11/966,917
The abstract: A process for production of biofuels from algae can include cultivating an oil-producing algae by promoting sequential photoautotrophic and heterotrophic growth. The method can further include producing oil by heterotrophic growth of algae wherein the heterotrophic algae growth is achieved by introducing a sugar feed to the oil-producing algae. An algal oil can be extracted from the oil-producing algae, and can be converted to form biodiesel.
Note the first step of the process requires: by promoting sequential photoautotrophic and heterotrophic growth
Cross-reference: Solazyme. From sustainablebusiness: Unlike other algae-based biofuel companies, Solazyme does not grow algae with photosyntheses. Rather, they use a genetically modified strain that feeds on sugar in a fermentation process.
Solazyme files $100M IPO -->
The company has a dependency on sugar. Low-cost sugars. Right now, your garden variety sucrose is in the $0.30-$0.34 range. That’s up from around $0.14 per pound a year ago. We don’t expect that Solazyme is going to stick with cane and beet-based sugar in the long-term, but for now, its going to face limitations and risks based on the crush spread between the price of cane and the the price of its oils.
Longer-term, we might expect Solazyme to go through an exercise to determine whether it is better to be located nearer to its feedstocks, or its customers. Right now, its locating where it can find fermentation capacity, but we may well see partners emerge in a variety of geographies, based on seeking higher values and new markets for feedstock – or, more likely, joint venture partners interested in diversifying their supply beyond petroleum, hedging against crude oil price volatility, and increasing the climate sustainability of their high-end products.