JULY 2009

OriginOil files algae patent

OriginOil, Inc. a developer of a technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, announced the recent filing of its Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT application, entitled “Apparatus and methods for photosynthetic growth of microorganisms in a photobioreactor.” The invention addresses challenging problems in the culturing of microalgae, including high energy utilization, fouling of light emitting surfaces, and diurnal growth cycles. The proposed system provides efficient light utilization with comparatively low energy costs by providing light at closely spaced intervals within a photobioreactor so that light is provided throughout the photobioreactor rather than just at the surface and at the interfaces between culture medium and photobioreactor wall.

“This international filing consolidates our inventions in the area of algae production and oil extraction,” said OriginOil’s chief technology officer, Vikram Pattarkine, PhD.

The filing describes system and methods for enhancing mass production of microalgae, involving the use of light arrays configured to provide photosynthetically effective illumination from closely distributed lights spaced at strategic intervals to optimize contact between algae and light. Illumination and nutrient provision can be timed to disperse light and nutrients when the organism is in a receiving mode. A process flow system is also described, which can be scaled for the mass production of algae.