Skip to content

EWS Algae FAQ

FAST FACTS

What is EWS Algae?

EWS Algae™ is a game changing technology which concentrates algae cells from growth media on a continuous basis and harvests them intact and free of bacteria and other damaging pathogens, without the need for chemicals or antibiotics.

EWS Algae is also the technology that powers our Smart Algae Harvester™ product line. It is our business to both license industry applications for EWS Algae, and sell our end-to-end Smart Algae Harvester systems. Click here to tell us about your needs.


What is Electro Water Separation?

OriginOil’s breakthrough water cleanup technology, Electro Water Separation (EWS), is a high-speed, primarily chemical-free process that efficiently extracts organic contaminants from very large quantities of water. It is the core technology powering OriginOil’s innovative product line.


How does EWS Algae Harvest algae?

EWS Algae harvests algae in a two stage process:

The first stage chamber uses a low-power electrical system, which changes the electric charge on the algae cell walls as they flow by, causing them to agglomerate quickly together into clumps.

The second stage chamber releases clouds of micro-bubbles which rapidly rise and stick to the clumps of algae flowing past and lift them to the top of the chamber, where they can be continuously raked off as an intact, bacteria-free concentrate with improved shelf life.

Together, these stages accomplish an important third function, electro-oxidation, which is effective in removing pathogens, for example.


How does the industry harvest algae now?

Current industry equipment is mostly designed to mechanically harvest algae cells from growth water and has been beset by problems. Centrifugal separators, vacuum belt systems and filters all apply force to separate the algae, resulting in fracture of fragile algae cell walls. This has led to very short shelf life for the algae and rapid contamination by bacteria, which is a major problem affecting world-wide algae harvesting.


How does EWS Algae fit in the market place?

The EWS technology is highly flexible and adaptable and fits the market place well.  It can operate as a stand-alone system for continuous harvesting of viable algae cells using very small amounts of electric power, or it can be easily integrated into existing commercial algae extraction systems, which can significantly improve overall productivity while reducing operating costs.


IN-DEPTH FACTS

How large is the Algae Biofuels Market?

Algae Biofuels technologies market projected to reach $1.6 Billion by 2015.[1]


How does EWS Algae compare with current technologies?

It compares very favorably as it continuously treats the water based media, selectively removing the algae in an intact and sterilized condition with much longer shelf life. It does this while greatly reducing or even eliminating the need for antibiotics or other chemicals and uses very little electrical power.


How did OriginOil get involved in Algae harvesting?

The OriginOil inventor perceived that the rapid initial growth of the bio-fuels market using algae oil had reached a plateau where the application of existing technologies developed earlier for water treatment such as centrifugal separators, filters, vacuum belts and other force-based systems to this emerging market had some very serious limitations.

The use of brute force methods to separate out algae cells resulted in cell wall fracture making the harvested algae more susceptible to attack from bacteria and other pathogens and severely limiting shelf life. These force methods also required heavy treatment with toxic chemicals and antibiotics, which led to other inherent problems and extra costs.

There was clearly an opportunity for a whole new approach, a completely different technology to harvest algae. This opened the door to a breakthrough technology which uses subtle effects such as electrical ions to help algae cells clump together and it creates clouds of tiny micro-bubbles to attach to and lift the clumped intact algae to the surface for harvesting. OriginOil came up with that game changing idea, tested it in the lab and in the field and the rest is history.


THE TECHNOLOGY

Can you explain in simple terms how EWS Algae works?

The growth medium containing algae, typically at less than 1,000 ppm (1 in 1,000 by volume) of mature algae cells, is drawn into the SSE reactors, where the algae cell surface charges are altered causing the algae cells to release ions into the water phase. This process allows the algae cells stick together in clumps.

The electrical process also kills off bacteria and other pathogens in the water by rupturing their cells. The algae cells are not affected and stay intact. This treated fluid is then passed into the second chamber, where hydrogen and oxygen micro-bubbles are released and stick to the clumped algae cells, which then rise to the surface as a thick mat of algae, ready for harvesting.


What is OriginOil’s patent position with the EWS Algae technology?

OriginOil has 55 patents in prosecution and 11 issued covering the EWS Algae technology.


What is electro-coagulation?

It’s an electro-magnetic ion producing technology which agglomerates particulates and suspended solids in a variety of water based media, using small amounts of electricity to create the ions which adhere to and change the charge on the surface of the particulates, which makes them stick together.


What is electro-flotation?

It’s also an electro-magnetic technology which releases clouds of micro-bubbles into the water being treated, which stick to the surface of the clumped particles and cause them to rise to the surface and form a thick layer for ease of removal.


How effective is the EWS Algae process?

When grown in ponds, algae normally mature in a highly diluted state, with 1 algae cell to as much as 1,000 equal volumes of water. This high dilution rate is a major issue with other algae harvesting methods. EWS Algae harvests algae to create a ~5% solids slurry with cell walls intact and bacteria-free without the primary use of chemicals. The entire process is continuous, very efficient and utilizes a small amount of power. No other technologies can match these features.


COMMERCIAL ROLLOUT

How Is EWS Algae deployed?

It is our business to license industry applications for EWS Algae.

We also build and sell systems to selected end users to help us refine applications for each industry, and create market awareness of our solutions. Click here to tell us about your needs.

EWS Algae can operate as a stand-alone system located beside an algae growth system and connected up to a suitable power system.

The technology is highly adaptable and it can be easily integrated into existing commercial algae extraction systems, which can significantly improve overall productivity while reducing operating costs.

The process is continuously monitored and as inlet and outlet conditions change, its operating parameters are controlled by algorithms in an embedded processor which are accessible and adjustable over the internet.

In addition to its ability to readily produce an algae concentrate of about 5% solids, EWS Algae has a built-in sanitizing function, which extends shelf life significantly, usually permitting offsite shipment.


How close to production is EWS Algae?

EWS Algae is in production and shipping.

Important: OriginOil is a licensing company and builds systems only for the purpose of proving them to key end-users and potential licensees.

There are two models currently available in production:

Smart Algae Harvester A25 which processes up to 25 liters per minute (6.5 gpm) to harvest algae, which is an ideal size for a full-sized distributed pond or bioreactor architecture.

Smart Algae Harvester A120 which processes up to 120 liters per minute (31 gpm). Designed for placement in full-scale production, either singly or in parallel configurations.


Will OriginOil be manufacturing the EWS Algae system?

Yes, to selected end users, to help us refine applications for each industry, and create market awareness of our solutions. However, it is our business to license EWS Algae.


Is the manufacture largely an assembly operation of already existing, generic components?

Yes, aside from the key technology components, the assembly uses readily available generic components from a variety of industrial manufacturing sources.

In addition, OriginOil has developed an intelligent SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System) which manages all EWS Algae and Smart Algae Harvester systems.


Is the equipment simple to operate?

Yes, the embedded processor will automatically control components such as, pump operation and level controls. Networking and auto-adaptive circuits are currently being added. We are also able to update software over the network to keep all Smart Algae Harvesters current.


What support will I receive for installation and operation?

OriginOil systems are delivered with complete manuals and instructions for installation and operation. In addition, our technicians are available from our offices during business hours, US Pacific Time, to help you achieve a successful installation.

You may send your technical personnel for training and certification at OriginOil.

For an additional charge, OriginOil will send a technician onsite to install and commission your system(s) and train a specified number of your staff in the operation and maintenance of our system.


What is your warranty and service contract policy?

Our systems come with a 90 day warranty (conditions apply) beginning with system acceptance.

Following warranty expiration, a service contract is required to maintain continuous support. It consists of two elements:

  1. Remote support: technical assistance which includes telemetry, where systems are connected to the Internet.
  2. Various types of depot and express contracts.

We will be happy to provide our service contract information on request.


How quickly can you get to commercial scale production?

We already have, the three units currently available can be ordered as needed to fill your needs. Delivery can be made 6-8 weeks from receiving purchase order.


How quickly can the system be installed on an algae farm?

The current EWS Algae systems are skid mounted, requiring no foundation or pad. Connections are minimal and standard. Installation can take place within one day of delivery to an algae growth pond.


Is EWS Algae scalable to a reasonable commercial size, or as a modular system reaching to the desired capacity?

The three sizes currently in production meet foreseeable market demands, either singly or in parallel applications.


What is the operating expense of the system?

Energy costs are surprisingly low, in the region of 0.7 kWh per cubic meter of algae growth water treated. Overall operating costs are also low and we predict they will be mostly offset by improved quality of harvested algae and extended shelf life.


LICENSING OF EWS ALGAE

What is OriginOil’s licensing strategy?

For commercial systems, OriginOil seeks OEMs who will embed the technology in their own end-to-end systems. Ultimately, OriginOil will seek master licensees for specific applications.

OriginOil’s OEM/licensing model offers a host of potential advantages to OriginOil and its partners including:

  • limited capital requirements;
  • no capital cost for volume manufacturing;
  • no time or expense wasted on building distribution channels;
  • collaboration with major players instead of competing with them;
  • the opportunity to make the core EWS technology a de facto standard in multiple industries.

What types of licensees do you seek for EWS Algae?

We are interested in two types of OEM candidates:

  1. The first are those manufacturers of other water treatment products that would benefit from using EWS Algae as a precursor to their process.
  2. The second potential licensee would be a system integrator who wants to satisfy a market need by bringing together and manufacturing a multi-stage system, which would include the EWS Algae system.

Will licensees be non-exclusive or exclusive?

Our OEM licenses are non-exclusive and subordinated to any future exclusive license OriginOil may grant. This allows OriginOil to reserve exclusive rights for master or regional licensees.

The non-exclusive licenses require the OEMs to always sell our technology bundled, and not separate. This will help prevent commoditization and channel conflict, as the systems that integrate EWS Algae will be very different due to the value that each OEM adds through the other processes it includes.

Is licensing your only commercialization strategy?

Yes.


Will support be largely a matter of replacing parts of the system that do not work, or trying to fix them?

Almost all support will be a matter of replacement. The electrodes will need to be replaced periodically, but are designed for easy replacement. Other components, such as pumps, would simply be replaced upon failure.

By contract the OEMs will provide full warranty support, and a variety of service contracts, backed up by OriginOil, to maintain system uptime.


Can the system be easily pre-sold i.e. continually building up an order backlog?

Once the system is proven in the field and performance data is advertised, we believe sales will grow dramatically and will chllenge our OEMs’ production capability. The primary end-users are the fish farming companies. We have identified the players and who are the best strategic customers, and we plan to support our OEMs fully to supply the demand smoothly and with high quality.


Algae as Fish Feed FAQ

How can algae harvested by EWS Algae be used in the fish feed industry?

Traditionally, fish food is made out of grains (soy, corn), fishmeal and fish oil. Algae paste, a slurry of concentrated micro-algae cells, is a perfect substitute for fishmeal, given that algae is source of proteins and fatty acids in the fish food chain (algae is eaten by rotifer, rotifer is eaten by copepod, copepod is eaten by artemia, artemia is eaten by sardine, etc.).

OriginOil’s EWS Algae Model A60 mid-scale algae harvester can process up to 60 liters (16 gallons) per minute of algae water in a continuous flow “wet harvest” system to efficiently de-water and concentrate microalgae. Essentially, it removes up to 99 percent of the incoming water volume, producing a 5 percent concentrate of solids. The technology is based on our core Electro Water Separation™ (EWS) platform.

The algae paste that is harvested with our EWS Algae harvester is incorporated into fish feed in the place of fishmeal, providing the same or better nutritional value. In fact, algae has more amino acids that are digestible for fish. When substituting half of the fishmeal in a feed formula with Chlorella or Scenedesmus algal strains, a 20 percent increase in growth was reported in Nile tilapia.


How long before algae as fish food will be available to aquaponics growers and the public?

The technology and knowhow to produce algae feed that is competitive in price with traditional fish feed exists. However, big feed corporations see the switch to algae as a fishmeal substitute as risky when there are few commercial algae feed producers to assure a reliable supply. Instead, commercial algae producers are focused on the growing markets for astaxanthin, Spirulina and bio-jet fuel production. As the aquaculture industry continues to grow worldwide, we expect the market for algae-based feed to grow, with higher profit margins luring new producers to the industry.


What nutrients and proteins does algae provide for the fish?

Depending on the species, algal strains are made up of 15 to 56 percent lipids, 25 to 70 percent protein and from 25 to 50 percent carbohydrates. The protein in algae paste contains substances such as aspartic acid, serine, alanine, leucine and glycine that are easier for fish to digest than the proteins in corn- or soy-based fish feeds. Algae also has the same ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids as fishmeal, meaning that it would have more bio-availability than soybeans and corn.

Although most feeds are formulated on a least-cost basis, other factors can also dictate what ingredients are used in certain markets. We have seen cases in which major retail chains wanted to insure a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon. While the salmon producers could have used significantly less fish oil and meal, the levels of those ingredients were raised to satisfy the standards of the retailers. The point is that the use of algae in fish feed can easily be adapted to meet customer requirements related to quality, health and taste, as well as those of cost.


Can algae be used as fish food without the use of the typical additives found in commercial fish food?

OriginOil does not add any additives to algae paste harvested with the A60. However, when the paste reaches the feed companies, the algae is typically mixed with corn, soy, rice or starch, which may contain additives such as colorants, emulsifiers or fillers.


What plans for distribution do you have?

While we are currently selling equipment directly to prove it in the field, our intention is to license our technology to companies that serve the aquaculture industry; either equipment vendors or feed producers. Our licensees will distribute to fish farmers, who are eager for a sustainable, healthy alternative to traditional fishmeal.


Will marketers and/or stores be able to become distributors to sell algae feed from OriginOil?

We plan to license to equipment manufacturers and feed producers. Normally, marketers and stores would purchase from these licensees. Right now, however, we are looking for early adopters who will help us prove the technology in various settings. This is their opportunity to put our technology to work right away.

Share