Green Star Products has announced they have tested and confirmed through a consortium partner that a micronutrient formula has improved the Green Star algae strain daily growth by 34%. They report further claim a 100% increase the total biomass in a harvest of an algae growth cycle by more than 100%. What is not said is the actual oil increase, which is the primary point.

The consortium partner doing the confirmation is Biotech Research at the UABC University in Ensenada Mexico. Absent the oil share or productivity numbers, a dash of salt might be required, but the enthusiasm and sincerity of Joseph LaStella is just too surprising to overlook. Green Star must be convinced, as they offering prior contacts from research groups and universities free samples for testing and for the minor production, handling and shipping fee of $50 a 12 oz sample to any and all requestors, enough to trial 3,500 liters of culture.

Green Star Algae Booster Lab Test

Here are three sets of twin algae photobioreactors (each containing 80-liters) that contain three different concentrations of the MMB formula. The picture also includes two control photobioreactors. This picture shows the greater algae growth based on depth of the green color differential.

Mr. La Stella admits that “We do not know if this formula will work on all species of algae and Green Star intends to create a database that will be published on our website based on feedback from all entities participating in the sampling program. All participants will be asked to submit their results to Green Star and summaries will be published to the entire industry.”

The UABC test showed that at 1:10,000 dilution rates the micronutrient additive was very effective and even at 1:20,000 the micronutrient solution still added effect. Called the “Montana Micronutrient Booster” the application of nutrient formulas may be something well worth pursuing. As the first product with noteworthy and first level confirmation of productivity increases the algae industry has another large block placed into its foundation.

But the most striking thing is the “open” aspect of the Green Star plan to offer samples. If the claim was simply a claim from a press release, I might have ignored it, but offering the formula with only a small fee and a hope that trial users will add to the database is a surprising turn of events.

It reminds somewhat of the “general public license” that is used by the software industry to encourage the application of intellect and skill to improve products for everyone. With the continuing increases of things like the Firefox browser and the Linux operating system getting better and better by the month it looks like Mr. LaStella could be borrowing an intellectual property method that might hugely benefit his entire industry.

Mr. LaStella also stated, “If the algae industry works together we will all benefit by identifying which strains of algae can be improved collectively. Hopefully, the entire industry can be accelerated into near term production.”

A guy like this is going play a very big role in the future.


3 Comments so far

  1. Maria Surma Manka on June 1, 2008 7:56 PM

    At this point, do you think it’s cost-effective to produce oil from algae on a small scale? Or do we need more larg projects for the cost to come down?

  2. Brian Westenhaus on June 1, 2008 8:26 PM

    I’m uncertain about what a person might mean by “small” in scale. Most investments gain economic savings in cost and reduced pricing in sales as scale increases. As of this instant the size of an algae installation is based on laboratory work, or large solar exposure, which are two ways to find an economic efficiency. So far the “shadow” of growth is inhibiting scale unless a large land area is involved. Solutions are being tested now, with good results, but the economic issue awaits more firm lab work results that will need tested in large installations. Those installations will require more investment per sunlit area so the testing will be careful and consume more time.

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