Algae Wet Recovery

Algae to Oil

4 times more lipids in 2 hours

The combination of the Cellulac SoniqueFlo technology and our accelerated enzyme expression protocols, have delivered a revolutionary ‘wet extraction’ process for the extraction of oils, proteins and other value-added products from algae. Using a pilot scale SoniqueFlo rig, with the capability of processing up to 10 tonnes per hour, the results showed a 10 fold reduction in enzyme use and 4 fold increase in lipid/oils extraction from algae over a 2 hour period.

  • Works directly on raw algae material while still in aqueous solution
  • No de-watering step provides greatly improved energy balance and cost effectiveness
  • No organic solvents and no toxic waste products
  • Delivers high yields of target oils, sugars & proteins in a readily usable form
  • 100% natural treatment process which protects the integrity of the target products
  • Non-GM and suitable for food and feed-grade production

Pilot Rig 10 Tonnes Per Hour

Mechanical & Enzyme Cell Bursts

The extraction solution eliminates the cost and complexity associated with the traditional solvent-based process. It removes the need for an energy intensive drying step and the use of hazardous organic solvents for product recovery. Cellulac allows the full promise of algae to be realised as a platform for production of food ingredients, personal care, renewable industrial oils and sustainable biofuels.

The process work by using cavitation to rupture the algae cell before homogenizing enzymes into the wet algae slurry to begin digesting elements of the algae cell wall. Oils, proteins and other components of the cell are released directly and rapidly into solution. Both the target product and valuable co-products can be recovered from the solution using simple, standard mechanical processes. The approach is disruptively lower cost than traditional solvent extraction, and more environmentally sustainable.

Nannochloropsis Cell Disruption

Nannochloropsis species have been one of the most studied marine algae as candidate production strains in large-scale biofuel facilities because of their hardy outdoor growth profiles and high omega oil yield, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, also found in fish oil) . In addition to valuable nutritive oils, Nannochloropsis also produce valuable pigments and are commonly used as an aquaculture feed. However this hardy growth profile which is due to a highly resistant cell wall has come with an increased cost of bio-commodity extraction. Here we have shown for the first time, complete cell wall destruction of Nannochloropsis Oceanica due to application of SoniqueFlo technology. The disruption of the cell wall renders the cell contents vulnerable to even the mildest of extraction method paving the way for commercially viable production of algae oil.

Substantial Energy Savings

In order to achieve optimal lipid extraction the cells first needed to be disrupted to free the TAG's (triacylglycerides) from the other cell components. After the first and second pass of Nannochloropsis (image below) through the SoniqueFlo Reactor rig, the majority of lipid had been liberated. After analysis the resultant images below, confirm similar results to samples tested and clearly show cell disruption in the Nannochloropsis cells.

The enthalpy of vaporisation (ΔHvap), also known as the energy that must be added to transform a quantity of liquid into a gas, is a function of which that transformation takes place. In the case of SoniqueFlo at 6 bar (O.6MPa) the energy added to achieve the cell disruption was 2.76Kj/g.

This is roughly 13% of the caloric value of algae (≈21Kj/g) and therefore represents a substantial energy saving outcome over all other mechanical cell disruption methods. This opens up a low cost route to wet processing combinations of mechanical and chemical/enzymatic extraction methods for further refining of microalgae cells.

Nannochloropsis SoniqueFlo Cell Disruption

Temp: 90oC (194oF) Pressure: 6 bar (87 psi)

Cellulac Wet Extraction Processing

Nannochloropsis SoniqueFlo Cell Disruption @ 90 degrees C