Algal Biofuels Company Working with KLM and Cruise Ships

algal tubular photobioreactor pilot plant at Algaelink

Algaelink, a biofuels company based in the Netherlands, was overlooked in 15 Algae Biofuels Startups to watch. So make it 16. Algaelink has signed an exclusive agreement with the airline KLM to develop biofuels for aircraft and are developing a system which would allow cruise ships to grow and process biofuels on board for feeding directly to the ships' own engines. For our part, we admire Algaelink's thinking: they understand sustainability. Algal biofuels is sustainable, de facto, you are thinking: what else is there? A look at the Algaelink website will convince you that Algaelink thinks beyond the obvious. For example, they are promoting the flat-pack delivery capabilities of their pilot technology, saving fuel while getting eco-fuel equipment to the customer. Furthermore, algae growth and oil extraction succeeds without the addition of chemicals in the Algaelink process. This means that the "wastes" leftover from pressing the oil can be upcycled to take advantage of vitamins, antioxidants and building blocks for food and pharmaceutical applications in the algae residuals. And the cherry on top: the process is energy efficient, consuming only 26kW to turn 50% of the algae paste to oil in the 45m3/hr pilot plant.

In the Algaelink press release about the KLM deal, Hans van de Ven, Managing Director of AlgaeLink, observes: "Because of our expertise in optimising algae growth in a photobioreactor(PBR) and the extraction of biomass and oil out of the PBR , they came to us." Reports indicate that KLM intends to have 12 Fokker-50 planes -- 7% of the fleet -- running on algal biofuel by 2010.

In the press release about the KLM deal, Algaelink hinted that negotiations were underway with "the world's largest cruiseliner." The German weekly WirtschaftsWoche confirmed in their issue of 2 June 2008 that Algaelink is currently developing a system for a shipping line, but the customer chooses to remain anonymous.

For the average person, Algaelink is good news. For the true eco- and biofuels geeks, check out the Algaelink pilot plant. You can own your own algal biofuels production pilot plant for only €69,000, less than the price of a new Tesla.

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