Sustainable Growing of Algae in High Tunnels for BioFuels

Final Report for FNC07-680

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2007: $18,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Ivan’s Fig Farm
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Project Information


This Final Project Report is prepared exclusively for the purpose of reporting the activities during the requested 1 year extension period.

All other results and activities have been already extensively reported in details under the 2008 and 2009 Progress Reports and will not be included in this report to avoid repetition.

The major reason for the extension was to include any further developments as part of the preapproved Grant for $2.1 million by the Iowa Power Fund, which would have allowed for the implementation and further scale up of our developed technology for sustainable growing of algae in High Tunnels for bio-fuels. Unfortunately, despite the preliminary approval by the Iowa Power Fund and the Midwest Research Institute reviewer recommendation for funding, the grant was awarded to the Shenandoah Green Plains Renewable Energy ethanol plant. We were subjected to the impossible requirements within a short time frame to find an investor that would fund Phase II with an upfront investment of $1,000,000 and all further phases (equivalent to $100,000,000) on top of the requirement for us to pay at least 7% of the grant plus shares for the Iowa Power Fund in a joint venture. The Shenandoah plant paid $1,400,000 and received the grant, although they did not have any technology for the oil extraction and bio-fuel production. They explicitly stated at that time, that their goal was to use the algae for animal feed.

At the time we had developed the most sustainable technology for growing algae, oil extraction and conversion to biodiesel, carbohydrates to ethanol, and proteins for human grade value added nutritional and pharmaceutical products and polyunsaturated fatty acids for baby formula nutrition.

Despite the unfavorable decision of the Iowa Power Fund we highly appreciate their commitment to the Algae to bio fuel technologies and the interest in our expertise and potential in contributing to the strategically important energy independence of our country.

We have not given up our long term goals and will continue to seek new opportunities to apply our achievements. We follow closely every new development and breakthrough in the area of algae to bio fuels. For example we are fascinated by the new breakthrough technology of Riggs Eckelberry's Origin oil Inc. Los Angeles CA, which solves one of the most critical steps of direct extraction of the algae oils, using electrical current. Or the new achievements through genetic engineering of algae that increases 60 times the content of oil in algae by Prof. Ursula Goodenough and the hydrogen producing blue green algae in the laboratory of Prof. Pakrasi, both from Washington University St. Louis, Missouri.

And while it is fashionable to put a green face on the CO2 polluting industries in exchange for an easy financial backup, we believe that in the long term farmers will be the ones to grow sustainably algae and not necessarily be hooked to a coal, ethanol or other CO2 polluting source, because the sun shines over their fields, which are many, many times larger.

This project would not have been possible without your dedicated work and support. We wish you success in continuing to support the new progressive ideas that come from the unmatched personal experience of the farmers.

The budget summary includes the grant money spent for the project and as per your changes does not include the priceless input from all partners that contributed with their knowledge, experience and resources to make this project possible. We want to take the opportunity to thank Jimmy Sinton, Assistant professor, Maharishi University for Management and Sustainable living, Brad Ulrich, Director of Technology at MORTechnology Inc. Glen Kertz, CEO of Valcent Technology Inc., Henry Rents, Missouri Valley Renewable Energy LLC and every one that helped us to make this project a reality and express our highest appreciation for their involvement and support.


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.