BERKELEY, CA--(Marketwire - December 16, 2011) -
Bio Architecture Lab, US (BAL) and its Chilean subsidiaries BALChile and BALBiofuels Chile, today officially broke ground on an experimental pilot facility to further develop its technology that creates low cost and renewable advanced biofuels from sustainably grown native seaweed, Macrocystis pyrifera. The facility, expected to be operational in 2012 will allow the company to demonstrate a complete value chain from feedstock cultivation (seaweed farming) to advanced biofuel production in the Los Lagos region of Chile.
Through successful public-private partnerships with InnovaChile CORFO (the Chilean Economic Development Agency) and the Universidad de Los Lagos, BAL is developing technologies that can contribute to sustainable domestic energy in Chile and elsewhere in the world. The company is building on the country's long history with the aquaculture industry to create new sources of fuels and chemicals that don't compete with land and freshwater for food production, reduce CO2 emissions and are environmentally beneficial to the oceans.
Through its core competency in synthetic biology, BAL has engineered a technology platform that is capable of metabolizing the sugars in seaweed to deliver fermentable sugars more competitive with conventional sugar sources. BAL has already produced ethanol and isobutanol from seaweed.
Seaweed is an ideal feedstock for commercial scale biofuels and chemicals production because it has up to 60 percent fermentable carbohydrates; it has no lignin; it does not require arable land use or freshwater to grow, and it reduces marine pollution. Only BAL's proprietary technology can metabolize all the sugars in brown seaweed. BAL currently operates three seaweed farms in Quenac and Ancud in the Los Lagos region, and Caldera in the Atacama region of Chile and has had great success in cultivating Macrocystis at economically viable production yields.
The experimental pilot facility will host milling equipment, fermenters, and bioreactors, and will allow BAL to take its technology to the next level of scale. Within the next 48 months, BAL intends to scale-up to a larger facility creating jobs and producing commercial quantities of biofuels and biochemicals.
About Bio Architecture Lab
Founded in 2008, Bio Architecture Lab is a privately held company headquartered in Berkeley, California with offices in Santiago and Puerto Montt, Chile. Bio Architecture Lab is focused on enabling the production of the world's lowest cost, most scalable, and sustainable source of sugars for biofuel and renewable chemicals from aquafarmed, native seaweed. Company investors include Aurus Bios, Austral Capital, Energy Capital Management and X/Seed Capital. The company has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's ARPA-E program through a partnership with DuPont and has been awarded funding from InnovaChile CORFO, the Chilean Economic Development Agency in partnership with the Universidad de Los Lagos. The company has a strategic partnership with Statoil, the Norwegian oil company. More information is available via the web at www.ba-lab.com.