Touchstone’s algae production facility features the ability to grow algae at commercial scale and process the algae on-site using a solventless lipid extraction system to extract the neutral lipid content from the algae.
The extracted neutral lipids are free of phosphorous and nitrogen making the collected neutral lipids a direct drop-in source for biofuel production. Currently this is the only system of its kind that can directly produce a drop-in source for biofuel production without the need for costly solvent extraction systems.
By floating a patent pending coating on the water surface, Touchstone has been able to increase algae growth rates and lipid productivity as well as significantly reduce water loss due to evaporation.
Currently, Touchstone’s algae production facility is an ATP3 DOE RAFT testbed partner conducting unified field studies with other algae production sites across the United States.
Touchstone’s algae facility is located just outside Wooster, Ohio
about one hour’s drive from either the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport or the Canton-Akron Regional Airport.
The Pilot Scale Production Ponds
Touchstone operates four almost identical 200 foot long algae production raceway ponds containing between 25,000 gallons and 40,000 gallons each.
Two of the production ponds are located within a greenhouse and two are located outdoors.
Algae Harvesting and Extraction System
Touchstone’s algae production facility incorporates a unique harvesting and extraction system designed and developed by OpenAlgae with biofuel production in mind. The system harvests algae from the production ponds, concentrates the algae, lyses the algae cells, and separates the neutral lipids from the lysed algae biomass.
The system isolates algae neutral lipids such as triacylglycerides that are free of phosphorus and nitrogen.
These can be used directly without further processing as a drop in source for biofuels production.
Algae Growth at a Testing Scale
The TRL algae production facility also features 8 – 250 gallon raceway ponds. These raceways are ideal for testing various parameters before scaling up to the larger pilot-scale production ponds. Each pond is equipped with water quality monitoring and controls.
The on-site algae laboratory is fully equipped to monitor all relevant productivity parameters such as dry weight, ash-free dry weight, and optical density.The laboratory includes the ability to measure carbohydrates and total lipids as well as fatty acid profiles. The Touchstone facility has an on-site freeze dryer for preserving samples. The laboratory also includes a culture system for maintaining algae cultures. The culture system has a large number of 800 ml culture tubes and 15 liter flat panels.
Teaming and Licensing
Concurrent to its own research, Touchstone is open to teaming with other organizations in furthering the science of algae growth and extraction.
Licensing opportunites are also available.