Los Angeles, CA - OriginOil, Inc.the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, announced recently the filing of its fourth patent application.
The patent application, "Lysing and Extraction System for Microorganisms," details OriginOil's invention of a method to extract the oil from algae with high energy efficiency, without requiring the use of chemical solvents.
The process of breaking down algae cells to release oil, known as lysing, has long represented a challenge for the algae-to-oil industry. Algae cell walls are difficult to break down. Mechanical methods are energy-intensive and often ineffective, and commonly-used chemical solvents such as benzene, ether or hexane are toxic and require special handling. Such practices increase operating costs and make it harder to site algae production systems.
OriginOil's latest invention builds on the company's first patent, Quantum Fracturing, in which ultrasound from intense fluid fracturing breaks down algae cells much in the same way a high-frequency sound wave breaks glass. In the new patent filing, the flowing algae biomass is first sent through a shielded wave guide system where it receives low-wattage, frequency-tuned microwave bursts, breaking the cell walls. Quantum Fracturing is then applied to these pre-cracked cells to complete the oil extraction. The result is a system that makes low-energy and environmentally-safe algae oil production a reality.
"High energy and operating costs defeat the goal of a cost-effective alternative to petroleum", commented Paul Reep, OriginOil's senior technical advisor. He continued, "The OriginOil extraction system is effective, safe and energy-efficient. I'm proud of the team of lead inventor Steven Shigematsu and co-inventor Nicholas Eckelberry, who have demonstrated, once again, their ability to combine lateral thinking with solid engineering advances."
CEO Riggs Eckelberry added, "This filing finalizes our initial disclosure of a complete and scalable algae production system. Our next step is to demonstrate how it all comes together in a cohesive and energy-efficient algae-to-oil process."
SOURCE: OriginOil, Inc.