Solix BioSystems is to build its first commercial plant for producing algae biomass for conversion into biofuel or animal feed, after completing a $31m funding round last week.
The Colorado (USA)-based company confirmed it had completed a new funding round backed by existing investor I2BF Global Ventures, as well as Southern Ute Alternative Energy LLC and Bohemian Ventures.
existing demonstration plant already cultivates around 2,000 gallons (app. 7,500 litres) of algae each year that can then be used to in a range of products, including biodiesel for cars and jet planes as well as animal feed.
The process takes place in special photo-bioreactors, fitted with Solix Lumian panels, which are designed to maximize both light penetration and the efficient mixing of CO2 in order to optimise algae growth.
Joel Butler, chief executive of Solix, said the company would use the new funding injection to scale up the technology to commercial scale. However, it remains unclear where and when the new plant will be built.
Butler also expects higher-value natural by-products could generate more revenue for the company.
"The co-products are where the economic value is," he said. "The fuel is what got us all into this business, but when you start peeling it back, at least in the near term, there's more money to be made in other places."
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