AECOM announced it has signed a strategic agreement with Genifuel Corporation to scale production of carbon-neutral sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and biogas from wild algae and biosolids. The partnership employs a patent-pending process developed by AECOM to harvest wild algae and a patented process developed by Genifuel and the U.S. Department of Energy to convert algae and wastewater biosolids into renewable oil and gas. Together, these technologies provide a truly innovative program to restore nutrient impacted waterways and make positive use of wet waste material.
“As a leader in environmental, social, and governance best practices, today marks an inflection point that demonstrates our ability to build a better world by helping to create renewable, clean energy for the future,” said Dan Levy, vice president, and director of algae programs with AECOM. “We’re proud to pioneer advanced and scalable solutions that address the ecological issues caused by excessive algae growth. This strategic partnership with Genifuel provides a new platform for AECOM to advance its position as a trailblazer in the positive use of waste material. We’re thrilled to work with our clients to implement these technologies.”
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are formed by an overabundance of nutrients in water and can produce toxins that threaten human health, aquatic ecosystems, and drinking water, making them one of the most scientifically complex and economically difficult environmental issues facing the world today. AECOM’s patent-pending Algae Harvesting Hydronucleation Flotation Technology (HFT) physically removes HABs, cyanotoxins, nutrients, and carbon from water, allowing recovered algae to be converted into commercial products, such as biofuel. Genifuel’s patented Hydrothermal Processing (HTP) uses heat and pressure to convert algae and biosolids into carbon-neutral biocrude and biogas, similar to the way fossil fuels are formed, but in minutes as opposed to millions of years and without adding new carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
“We’re excited about our strategic partnership with AECOM and our ability to help reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said James Oyler, president of Genifuel. “Both algae and wastewater solids have been proven as suitable feedstocks for SAF. Our system allows for very fast conversion of the wet organic content, compressing the conversion to a matter of minutes. The output is biocrude oil or natural gas that is nearly identical to natural fossil equivalents, except they release no net new carbon dioxide. We look forward to our hydrothermal processing units being implemented at facilities across the U.S. in the near future.”