National Algae Association has opened its new Testing Center. This first-of-its-kind initiative has been on-going as a part of NAA's algae production incubator program to assist new algae start-up companies interesting in testing their commercial photobioreactors, harvesting and extraction systems before entering the algae production industry.
Many new algae production companies are moving into the NAA testing center to prove up their technologies, gather data in real-time and confirm production levels to determine viability in a commercial environment. Potential investors come to the testing center to verify production capabilities and confirm data and production levels. They want to see turn-key algae production systems all in one place.
The Testing Center is a test-bed for taking algae production technologies out of the lab and confirm capabilities before going on acreage or inside commercial buildings. Only a small percentage of algae technologies can actually scale. The Testing Center independently confirms commercial algae production technologies and prove whether or not they can scale or not. Algae researchers finally an opportunity to collaborate with other algae researchers and algae producers all in one place to test their lab-scale technologies in a commercial environment at the NAA Testing Center.
Data is key to to algae production scale-up. The Testing Center tests growth rates, inputs of nutrients and CO2, along with measuring harvesting and extraction data, while simultaneously measuring dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, ORP, salinity and temperature, using full data logging developed for the algae industry.
"The Testing Center has been made possible because of the dedication of equipment and material providers who belief that algae can help to reduce US dependence on foreign oil" according to NAA Executive Director Barry Cohen. "This particular initiative shows us what can be done with hard work, collaboration and commitment to the scale-up of the commercial algae production industry, not government sponsored funding and research. Without companies like Georg Fischer, Harvel, Solar-Components, Bayliff Enterprises, Yokogawa, YSI, MidSci, Grainger, Duda Diesel Alternative Energy Store, Gothic Arch Greenhouses, Algae Technology Ventures, Airgas and Commercial Algae Management, we wouldn't be making this announcement today."
Cohen went on to say, "Based on my experiences with the academic community and with the US Department of Energy, there is not a doubt in my mind why the DoE-funded projects have not led to commercial production in the US! By the time DOE-FOA-0000615 Advancements in Sustainable Algal Production (ASAP) gets funded in August, this initiative will be well under way. Our successes cannot be accomplished by hoping for future grant money and stocking labs with expensive lab equipment with disregard for obligations, commitments and milestones - this is something that's going to take the business community, led by do-ers, not talkers - those whose ulterior motives are genuinely to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to become energy independent and create jobs.
NAA has made it this far without the any assistance of DoE research grants - imagine what it could do with a little support!"