DynaSep's patented ambient temperature drying process is called AmbiDri. In a collaboration that goes back five years, DynaSep with Grimmway, GreenFuel, and Arizona Public Service (APS) has developed a game-changing technology for processing wet, oil-laden paste to value streams. The work spanned efforts with Grimmway Enterprices, GreenFuel , and APS to dry material and extract oil. DynaSep is one of the main providers of equipment and services to APS's program with the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to demonstrate algae as a mechanism to CO2 capture and as a means to produce crude oil for jet fuel. AmbiDri produces three discharge streams:

  • 1) Lipids, carotenoids, and chlorophyll
  • 2) "Dried" biomass residue comprised of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and minerals
  • 3) Water

Subject to limitations below, we get a clean separation of the three streams.

Some results of the AmbiDri technology

AmbiDri uses a hybrid combination of a liquid solvent and gas (CO2). The liquid solvent is completely recycled. The CO2 can be completely recycled or a very minor amount is released. We are very keen to the issues of both sustainability and carbon footprint- both through direct emissions and energy consumption. The process occurs at near (i.e. room) temperature and, thus, does not degrade the protein. There is no secondary process to extract oil. The energy requirements of this process depends on its precise implementation but are in the range of 5 to 20% of the theoretical heat of vaporization of water. Any energy associated with subsequent oil extraction is eliminated. The best, incumbent, conventional thermal drying method is spray drying with roughly 150% of theoretical water heat of vaporization. The process is environmentally friendly and uses recycled materials that occur naturally in biology.

Our process can accept algae in the uncracked state. In this case, depending on a combination of the species (we have demonstrated the process with several) and growth history (that strongly influences the lipid content in algae), we can extract between 25 and 75% of the lipid in the algae cells. If the cells are mechanically cracked (we know how to do this too), we extract almost 100% of the lipid.

We have a customer-funded program to build a sub-scale pilot (50 kg/hr wet paste) for the process that will be deployed to algae growth demonstration site in Athens, Greece. We are working with Grimmway to build a semi-works system (500 kg/hr wet paste) in Bakersfield, California. This semi-works system is intended to process ground carrot pomace. Based on other development results, we know that the same system can also process algae paste without further modifications. A co-written proposal with Grimmway to the California Energy Commission (CEC) for a Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) grant was the 2nd highest ranking winning proposal (See attached award announcement). The CEC PIER evaluation and Grimmway's program manager/process engineer with 30 years of experience in drying figure that this is the most innovative, energy efficient, and scalable drying and extraction technology that has developed in 30-50 years.