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Feeding Trials Show Potential for 'Ethanol Algae'

by 5m Editor
18 October 2011, at 9:03am

US - Green Plains and BioProcess Algae have completed the first phase of a series of animal feeding trials with algae grown at an ethanol plant. In poultry, the companies' algae had a similar protein composition to high-protein soybean meal and a higher energy content.

Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. and BioProcess Algae, LLC have announced the successful completion of the first round of algae-based poultry feed trials. The algae strains produced for the feed trials demonstrated high energy and protein content that was readily available, similar to other high value feed products used in the feeding of poultry today.

The algae strains used in the feed trials were grown in BioProcess Algae's Grower HarvesterTM reactors co-located with Green Plains' ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. The test was conducted in conjunction with the University of Illinois led by Dr Carl M. Parsons, a leading expert in the field of poultry sciences.

Dr Parsons said: "This was the first time we tested algae as a poultry feed-product and many of the qualities found were similar to high protein soymeal, but with higher energy content."

Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcess Algae, added: "Based on these first-round tests, we will continue the development of this and other high-quality animal feed products from our algae. We will proceed with further testing for poultry and begin evaluating a replacement product for fishmeal. We can now look into the opportunity to use algae as a 'carrier' for higher value products going into poultry feed such as omega-3s.

"We believe this may be one of the first times that carbon dioxide absorbed from an industrial source was used to grow and harvest algae that performed well in feed trials. With our Grower Harvester reactors at commercial scale, we will continue to focus on driving our cost of production down with a larger build-out of reactors at the Green Plains Shenandoah ethanol plant over the next several months in order to profitably supply feedstock for food, feed and fuel markets."

In addition to the high energy and protein content, the testing found amino acid profiles similar to existing feed components. The University of Missouri analysed the results and provided an independent third-party validation.

BioProcess Algae LLC is a joint venture among CLARCOR Inc., a global provider of filtration products, BioProcessH2O LLC, a wastewater purification technology company, Green Plains Renewable Energy, and the international renewable energy group NTR plc, which builds and runs green energy and resource-sustaining businesses. BioProcess Algae was created to commercialize advanced photo-bioreactor technologies for the production of high-quality, low-cost feedstocks for human nutrition, animal feed and biofuels.

Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. is North America's fourth largest ethanol producer. The Company markets and distributes approximately one billion gallons of renewable motor fuel on an annual basis, including 740 million gallons of expected production from the Company's nine ethanol plants located throughout the US. Green Plains owns and operates grain handling and storage assets and provides complementary agronomy services to local grain producers through its agribusiness segment. Green Plains owns Blendstar LLC, a biofuels terminal operator with locations in the southern US.