In the fall of 2014 Heliae embarked on a new international adventure. Together with Sincere Corporation 新興航運股份有限公司, we are developing an algal production facility just outside of Saga City, Japan, near the location of the city’s incineration facility, under a new joint venture company called Alvita.
The Alvita production facility is designed to produce the carotenoid astaxanthin for the internal Japanese market. Heliae is providing the technology and know-how needed to make this a reality. The location of the Saga City facility, near the incineration plant, offers Alvita the opportunity to recycle CO2 and use low grade waste heat for optimal temperature control of the reactors.
Late in 2014, Heliae shipped to Saga City a complete pilot-sized test facility to carry out initial site assessment tests to assess our plans for the new facility. The test facility consists of six open pond reactors housed inside a locally built greenhouse (see figures, above). Along with the reactors, a fully functioning laboratory was shipped for analysis of culture growth parameters.
As of early May 2015, we have carried out seven successful production runs in the test reactors with our Japanese partners. We have collected data on biomass and astaxanthin production rates as well as obtain large biomass samples for other important quality parameters.
While this work has been carried out, preparations for the construction of the Alvita large scale production facility have commenced. The land where the commercial facility will be built was the protagonist of a Shinto blessing and ground breaking ceremony on March 23rd, 2015. At the present time, the land is being prepared to begin the construction of the production reactors, processing buildings and other infrastructure.