Since beginning the Algae Extraction Program in 2007, Valicor Renewables (formerly SRS Energy) has established transformative new techniques for the extraction and fractionation of microalgae, delivering the highest recovery of lipids for downstream processing to biofuels, chemicals, specialties, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and more. Additionally the lipid extracted biomass presents protein and carbohydrate fractions in separate byproduct streams ready for further processing into high protein animal and fish feed, biofuels and other end applications. The development of the patent pending Valicor Algafrac™ technologies has provided for commercially scalable processes which extract both polar and non-polar lipids, whether contained in the algae vacuoles or membrane bound.
Over five years of internally funded research and development in the algae space, working with many algae cultivation partners and a wide variety of microalgae strains, has taught the team at Valicor Renewables that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all solution” for every algae cultivator and every downstream refiner or customer. Indeed an optimum solution requires considering both the strain being cultivated and the desired product slate – both the lipids (for fuels, specialties, chemicals, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals?) as well as the residual biomass (for high protein animal or fish feed, fuels, energy, fertilizer, anaerobic digestion?). On the basis of these aspects (taking into account factors such as capital and operating expenses, life cycle analysis, energy input and product form, quality and purity) the Valicor Renewables team can recommend which of their proprietary platforms to utilize in order to deliver the best solution and the best return to our partners and customers.
Algafrac technology was first scaled up in 2009 to become a critical part of North America’s first integrated algal biorefinery in Artesia, New Mexico which started production on April 19, 2010. The biorefinery is operated by CEHMM (www.cehmm.org), and is shown in the figure below. The Valicor Algafrac technology is housed in the two white buildings surrounded by cultivation ponds: The building to the left holds the utilities, while the building to the right encloses the extraction and fractionation unit itself.
Valicor leverages over 15 years of custom separations development (operating as SRS), and implementation and operation of systems at over 2000 client sites to provide the algae industry an array of services which will help monetize their algae cultivation and production strategies.