No spin doctoring required . . . this piece of equipment will mean big things for the algae industry. Evodos B.V., a Dutch manufacturer of centrifugal systems, recently made a gift of a state-of-the-art centrifuge to Dr. Mark Edwards, Vice-President of Corporate Development and Marketing at Algae Biosciences Incorporated. Dr. Edwards, a professor at Arizona State University, an award-winning author, and an outspoken advocate regarding algae’s potential in freedom foods, agribusiness and sustainable energy, had researched and promoted Evodos B.V.’s products through their formative stages. Evodos B.V. presented a Type 2/10 SPT Harvester centrifuge, worth an estimated $50,000, to Dr. Edwards at the Algae Biomass Summit at Minneapolis, Minn., on Oct. 27. Dr. Edwards has graciously allowed AlgaeBio, an Arizona biotechnology company, to press the centrifuge into service as it begins producing ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils for international customers in the nutraceutical and food additive sectors in the coming months. Dr. Edwards and AlgaeBio’s research team will perform a series of extraction tests with the Evodos Harvester that will be shared with the algae industry.“It’s quite an honour. A very nice gesture. I wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about the product unless I thought it was special,” says Edwards. “And this unit is a huge breakthrough for the industry. It’s not a full solution, but it really goes a long way toward solving the harvest and extraction step. “That’s been a real sticking point in the algae industry. It’s why a lot of companies failed. They were able to grow the algae, but they weren’t able to harvest it efficient. This centrifuge unit reduces the harvesting costs by a factor of 10, by using far less energy. And this wonderful unit will be a big help to us at AlgaeBio.” Marco Brocken, Chief Executive Officer of Evodos B.V., says Dr. Edwards’ research and feedback on early prototypes of the Evodos Harvester were vital to its evolution.“Mark was one of two scientists worldwide, along with Mario Tredici of Florence, Italy, who recognized the possibilities of our centrifugal technology in an early stage. Their reactions gave us the courage to continue developing our centrifugal machine,” says Brocken. “Of his own accord, Mark has been very supportive in bringing Evodos technology to the attention of key people in the algae industry.“Based on his support, Evodos has chosen the algae industry as the focal point of our business,” adds Brocken. “Our harvesting products are now purchased and delivered across the world to countries such as USA, Canada, Chile, Australia, Spain, and our home country, the Netherlands.”AlgaeBio announced in mid-August a $5-million, first-phase expansion to its production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., which will allow the company to reach large-scale commercial production levels of omega-3 fatty acid oils by early 2012.While AlgaeBio already has a larger Evodos B.V. centrifuge on order, the Type 2/10 SPT Harvester unit will perfectly suit the company’s initial needs.“The traditional problem with harvesting microalgae from sea water, specifically, is that the density between the (algae) cell and the media (sea water and nutrients) is very small,” says Andy Ayers, AlgaeBio’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “In order to remove the algae from the water, in the past, producers have had to use extremely high G-force centrifuges, which can have detrimental effects on the algae, because they generate heat in the process. “This unit runs at a much slower RPM, resulting in less heat and less damage to the product.” Thanks to AlgaeBio’s market-leading production capabilities, downstream opportunities include: pharmaceuticals, such as designer proteins, vaccines, enzymes, antibodies, and research agents; sustainable biofuels; macroalgae for human food; organic pigments that can replace synthetic dyes in food and cosmetics; organic compounds called carotenoids, which as potent antioxidants reduce cell damage and fight disease; and liquid feed for marine life.
ABOUT ALGAE BIOSCIENCES INCORPORATED: AlgaeBio is an Arizona biotechnology company that researches, develops, and manufactures ultra-pure products from micro and macro algae such as nutraceuticals, food additives, and pharmaceuticals. With access to near-perfect algae growing conditions, exclusive aquaculture access to a pristine brine water supply, and advanced proprietary technology, AlgaeBio produces superior human and animal consumable products, as well as offering advanced algae-based products and technologies for distribution into the agribusiness, biofuel, and aquaculture markets. AlgaeBio owns and operates large-scale production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Algae Biosciences Corporation.