Shell

Shell

Marine Algal Farming

Context

Shell GameChanger contracted Innovia as an innovation partner to help it explore viable options for farming marine algae as a feedstock for biofuel production. The concept has a strong disruptive potential: such algae grow quickly, and unlike other energy crops, do not require land that might otherwise be used for food production.

Approach

We went back to fundamental science, and created a range of models to gain insight into the different challenges involved, in particular: supply of nutrients, ways to contain the algae and methods for harvesting and water separation. We sought inspiration from many diverse sources, including polyethylene sheeting for greenhouses, civil engineering of polders, polymer reptation, hydrocyclones and remediation of oil slicks.

Impact

In December 2007 Shell and HR BioPetroleum, Inc. announced the construction of a pilot facility in Hawaii to develop this disruptive technology.