News last update:6 Aug 2012

Aurora Algae interesting for investors

Aurora Algae, a developer of biofuels and biochemicals produced from processed algae has raised $22 million in its most recent round of funding.

Aurora Algae is part of a small set of funded biologically-produced chemical companies that produce a diverse number of biochemical products, such as feed stock and transportation fuel.
While investing in the biofuel sector as a whole fell last year, companies that produce a diverse range of products from their biochemicals experienced record investing, according to a report by Lux Research.
“You’re starting to see a realization that we came to a year ago, if you’re growing a base commodity you should go after the highest-value markets and not just biofuels,” Aurora Algae chief executive Greg Bafalis said. “Biofuels will eventually come, but they shouldn’t be your focus now.”
Fewer investments in biofuels
Investors made fewer investments in the biofuels sector as a whole, and invested a larger amount of money in a smaller set of companies. Most biofuel companies have started to mature, and with fewer new biofuel companies emerging in the past year, they are either in a position to raise their third and fourth rounds of funding or to go public.
Aurora Algae produces chemicals that the company converts to “nutriceuticals,” which basically equates to feed stock and protein-rich biomass products.
The company cultivates a strain of algae that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and, when processed, creates a petrochemical that is similar the palm oil the company converts for a number of other products.
The company plans to use this funding to start construction of its first facility to produce commercial-grade biochemicals.
The company is currently running trial runs at a demonstration plant in Australia, which should be complete later this year. Aurora Algae has raised $72 million to date.

Dick Ziggers

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