Formerly Aurora Biofuels, the Company Enters the Commercialization Phase with an Expanded Product Portfolio
ALAMEDA, Calif. -Aurora Algae, formerly Aurora Biofuels, today introduced the industry’s first photosynthetic algae-based platform for the production of sustainable, premium products in the pharmaceutical, nutritional supplement, aquaculture and fuels markets. The announcement officially marks Aurora Algae’s transition from pilot technology development into full-scale commercialization of the Company’s proprietary algae products, including high concentration eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA Omega-3 fatty acids), high-density proteins, fish meal and renewable fuels.
The algae-based platform, products and brand evolution follow the recent expansion of the management team including Chief Executive Officer Greg Bafalis and Executive Chairman Brian Hinman. Executing on the original vision for commercialization, Co-Founder Matt Caspari has been appointed managing director, and has relocated to Australia to oversee the upcoming development of the first full-scale production facility. With the expansion of the management team, the Company’s staff consists of nearly 70 members, including 14 Ph.D.s, with a shared focus on scientific and technological innovations that continuously optimize Aurora Algae’s high-tech farming processes.
“For the past four years we have focused on developing high-performance, versatile strains of algae in preparation for full-scale commercialization—and to be able to say we have reached the end of that development process is exciting,” said Greg Bafalis, CEO. “What we’ve created over that time is a photosynthetic algae-based platform for growth—growth in terms of the number of high-value, low-cost products we will provide our customers; growth in the number of addressable markets for our company; and growth in the impact we will have on some of the world’s most pressing challenges including carbon emission reduction, fresh water conservation and global demand for protein and sustainable Omega-3 production.”
Initial applications of Aurora Algae’s platform include:
- Pharmaceuticals—Aurora Algae will produce high-concentration Omega-3 fatty acids in commercial quantities for use in pharmaceutical and health supplement products.
- Health Foods & Beverages—Aurora Algae’s rich protein extracts will be added to health shakes, protein bars and other food and beverage products.
- Fish Meal—Aurora Algae’s high-quality and low-cost fish meal will provide a natural feed source for aquaculture.
- Renewable Energy/Fuels—Aurora Algae’s high-performance biodiesel can be produced in low-cost commercial quantities to address a variety of energy applications, including transportation.
With a process that flourishes in arid climates and utilizes photosynthesis and seawater, Aurora Algae will locate production facilities in regions that are non-competitive with agriculture. This is critical given that world protein consumption is set to increase 74 percent by 2050, surpassing the replenishment of wild and farm-raised fish and livestock populations. By providing high-concentration EPA oils and protein extracts, and low-cost fish meal for aquaculture facilities, Aurora Algae will help address the growing worldwide demand for protein and Omega-3 fatty acids while reducing overfishing.
“By taking a photosynthetic approach to algae cultivation in open pond farms, we’re able to achieve production costs that rival the lowest cost producers focused solely on the fuels market,” said Brian Hinman, Aurora Algae executive chairman and venture partner at Oak Investment Partners. “At the same time, we’re focused on the high-value market segments served today by competitors with a higher-cost fermentation process. This puts Aurora Algae in the unique position of generating attractive returns from the first commercial facility, without the need for government subsidies.”
With algae widely recognized as the most productive source of biomass, Aurora Algae has optimized salt-water algae strains that thrive in open ponds, utilizing seawater rather than fresh water to conserve resources. Aurora Algae’s strain is lighter in color than wild-type algae, allowing deeper penetration of sunlight, thereby extending the zone for algae reproduction and increasing yield. Aurora Algae has also pioneered a unique, energy-efficient method to harvesting, using technology commonly used in the waste-water treatment industry rather than using a traditional centrifuge approach. These process improvements over traditional algae production, harvesting and extraction methods, combined with the company’s ability to take excess carbon dioxide from third-party industrial plants, will result in premium, low-cost and carbon-neutral to carbon-negative products.