More Evidence Algae Biofuels is About To Go Commercial in 2013

Who’s funneled $116M into Algenol and Aurora Algae? We know finally, it’s Reliance.

Algae’s Secret Investor

In earlier 2010, a considerable amount of information started to mount up indicating that Reliance Industries Limited – the oil, chemical products, telecommunications and industrial conglomerate, was planning to place a wager on algae in the fuel oils and chemicals area.

Reliance – for those people not as knowledgeable about India’s business environment – is known as a South Asian giant. It’s the country’s biggest private-sector business concerning income revenue and profits, and also scored in the Global Fortune 100 this past year.

Observers of the rising impetus driving algae at Reliance were dumbfounded this year after no investment decisions had been reported, with either a large-scale inside financial commitment or perhaps a tactical financial commitment with one of the top early-stage businesses. All of us certainly were puzzled with no activity here at Digestville.

Ends up that Reliance has been making investments the whole time. Silently. Significant.

A Credit Suisse statement regarding the business, (see page eight of the report, downloadable here), stated that Reliance has devoted $116 million (Rs6.2 billion). $93.5 million (Rs5.0 billion) in Algenol and 22.5 million (Rs1.2 billion) in Aurora Algae.

The most current news from Algenol

During the initial plenary period at the Algae Biomass Summit in September, Algenol CEO Paul Woods disclosed that the business, located at its 4-acre, out of doors Process Development Unit in Lee County, Florida, had attained continual output of ethanol for the 7,000 gallon per acre amount. That’s a considerable gain above the business’ initial goal of 6,000 gallon per acre, and was accomplished at its out of doors operations facility under standard performing procedures.

The most recent regarding Aurora Algae

We featured the launch of Aurora Algae‘s demonstration scale work in Western Australia as being #2 concerning Algae’s Big 2012, “Small Scale Algae Goes Big Time.”

Previously this year, we published: “Word has been sneaking back to the United States from Australia that Aurora Algae is well into a $100 million capital raise from a combination of existing and new investors, and is aiming at an IPO later in the year to fund its growth from a 6-acre demonstration unit to a small commercial facility of 250 acres, and then potentially to thousands of acres in its next iteration.”

Additional points of view on Aurora and Algenol

A shared factor among the two technologies. Neither of them utilize fresh water – each concentrate on saline-based varieties. We ranked these two in the leading 4 businesses “heading for commercialization now” amid “saltwater-based, Civilization-Saving, Bioenergy Technologies worth watching”.

The Reliance indicators from 2010

The Hindu initially discussed Reliance’s interest in algae-based biofuels starting in April 2010, after a delivery by M. Ganapati, President, Corporate Planning, Reliance Technology Group about the ‘Biofuels Scenario in India’. “Algae seems to be the most promising feed stock. Microalgae are uncellular biofactories that can provide oil from sunlight and carbon dioxide,” Ganapati stated back then. The Hindu appended that RIL suggested that the company may be “considering a proposal on setting up of a biofuel refinery, and called for selective government “investment grants to biofuels which will facilitate the update of biofuels.”

The indicators from 2011

Many people were convinced enough of Reliance’s intent that we ranked their desire for creating a significant wager in the industry.  Another corporation we concentrated on DuPont – made a large financial investment in the purchase of Danisco and its Genencor enzymes unit later that year. Yet the seeming inactivity at Reliance left us perplexed.

The indicators restart in 2012

Still there persisted to be rumblings in the arena of algae. During an interview with the Digest, Dr. Jose Olivares, the leader of the NAABB algae R&D consortium, proclaimed:

“I think India is a force to contend with because of their long history with algae, but at this point they are trying to determine out how best to enter into the biofuels industry. We are very fortunate, from a NAABB perspective, to be partnering with Reliance Industries Limited, which is one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world and is located in India. They have two of the world’s largest refineries and they are in the top 20 petrochemical producers in the world.  Reliance Industries is in the process of developing a strategy for biofuels and algae biofuels in particular. We are very privileged to be partnering with them in developing this strategy.”

Additionally we mentioned that Reliance, as well as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, sponsored an international summit, “Algae for Sustainable Development” together with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Indian Phycological Society. The February conference drew contributors from 11 countries around the world while exploring “Biofuels from algae, marine farming of macroalgae, carbon sequestration, nutraceutical and protein supplements from algae, and effluent remediation.”

The Conclusion

It’s a significant type of financial investment, evidently focused at the commercialization step, because of the phase that each Algenol and Aurora have arrived at on their particular paths – also it originates with a major corporation.

What precisely Reliance is finding in the information channels which would have been supplied to them, in the midst of contemplating and making financial investments at those sums, is still undisclosed. Evidently, although Algenol and Aurora are able to produce records data from their pilot and test projects, not only from the research laboratory. Indicating that they have significantly de-risked their technological innovation and are prepared to proceed to the commercially manufactured stage.

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