Aquaflow’s Aussie adventure

algaeBlenheim company Aquaflow, appropriately, is not standing still. BusinessGreen reports it has embarked on a fund-raising programme in Australia to attract financing for the first of up to 16 pilot plants to demonstrate its algae fuel technology. For those who aren’t familiar with the enterprise, it extracts wild algae at the point of discharge from the Marlborough sewage ponds as a feedstock for biofuels, and in the process produces a much-improved water quality to the extent that it meets standards for irrigation use. By comparison with some of the overseas ventures which select and contain the algae it’s low tech, with a low capital requirement, albeit with a lower fuel yield. And it’s authentically renewable, which cannot be said of some processes which are using CO2 from fossil fuel burning to enhance the growth of the algae. (Hot Topic has carried reports of the company’s activity here and here and here.)

Aquaflow’s units come in 40-feet containers, are deployed in remote locations without difficulty, and can be easily scaled. Director Nick Gerritson said “It’s plug and play, we just plug into the existing infrastructure.”

Discussions are taking place on a possible 16 projects over three continents, including talks with municipal authorities and with corporates seeking to develop low-carbon fuels.

When it comes to revenue streams the company explains that while its principal market is water remediation and the sale of recycled water it would also be able to charge for technology transfer fees, royalties, and the algae feedstock, green crude and other products that result from the process.

Its investor presentation includes forecast revenue of A$5.3m in 2010/11, rising to A$94.4m in 2014/15, with pre-tax profits forecast to jump from A$110,000 to A$33.2m over the same period.  The forecasts include only the sale of its equipment and remediated water sales. They don’t include revenue from the sale of green crude or from the generation of carbon credits.

There will possibly be a public offering within the next twelve months.

I’s an uncertain area, developing and launching new technologies. But an absolutely vital one if we’re to work through to a decarbonised economy. Aquaflow has earned at least our best wishes.

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