Ethanol plant in Iowa to expand algae production

Source: DAVID SHAFFER • Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012

A Midwest ethanol company says it will begin building a five-acre production facility to grow algae fed by carbon dioxide emitted by its ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa.

The project, which uses technology developed by BioProcess Algae, is the next step toward commercial production of algae for animal feed, fuel, Omega-3 oils and other uses, the companies said in a news release.

Green Plains Renewable Energy, based in Omaha, owns nine ethanol plants, including one in Fergus Falls. It is the first ethanol maker to focus on producing algae using byproduct carbon dioxide from an ethanol plant.

If the process is commercially successful, the company has said it intends to launch algae-growing farms at other plants, including the Minnesota operations.

The Shenandoah project includes horizontal bioreactors inside greenhouses and a plant to de-water and process algae into finished product, the companies said.

“After a successful rollout of the horizontal reactors at full commercial scale, we are eager to move forward with this project producing meaningful quantities of dried wholesale algae for use in products now,” Green Plains CEO Todd Becker said in a statement.