Conference to showcase algae petroleum alternative

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

A forthcoming conference in Belgium is to highlight a new algae-based alternative for petroleum-based products and bio fuels created by US company OriginOil.

The company’s CEO, Riggs Eckelberry, will give a presentation at the World Biofuels Markets conference, due to be held at the Brussels Expo Centre, in Belgium, March 16 - 18.

Eckelberry will focus on how algae can provide a sustainable and low-cost alternative to fossil fuels and affect the production of consumers goods such as cosmetics.

Big names showcase bio fuels

Keynote speakers at the event will be given by former rock star Sir Bob Geldof, as well as Jeb Bush, former governor of the state of Florida, and brother of ex-US president George W. Bush.

OriginOil has automated its Helix Bioreactor System – which relies on low energy lighting arranged in a helix pattern - as a means of optimising algae growth and production.

This production method allows the algae to reproduce exponentially within a small installation footprint, making it a highly efficient and productive means of cultivation.

Algae contains 60 per cent old

The reason for farming the algae is the fact that it contains up to 60 percent oil, which can be harvested to and converted into refined chemicals that can be used to replace a host of petroleum products.

Many personal care products are petroleum-based, with petroleum jelly appearing in products such as skin moisturisers, lip balms and lubricants.

However, increasingly personal care companies are looking for alternatives to petroleum-based ingredients, partly because petroleum is not considered environmentally-friendly.

Reducing the greenhouse effect

The use of petroleum-based products is also said to have a major impact on the environment, contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

OriginOil claims that the production of its algae-based petroleum alternative is much more environmentally friendly, boasting reduced carbon emissions from the production process, as well as the fact that its use as a bio fuel is likely to reduce greenhouse gases.

On top of being used as a petroleum jelly alternative for personal care manufacturers, it is also expected to become an alternative bio fuel, as well as being used for materials such as bioplastics for consumer products such as packaging and toys.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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