After a quiet start to the year, closed system photobioreactor pioneer Solix Biofuels completed its $16.8 million Series A capital funding that added Shanghai Alliance Investment to its group. Proceeds will be used to finance construction and commencement of operations at the company’s Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility, which will be operational by late summer 2009. I2BF Venture Capital, Bohemian Investments, Southern Ute Alternative Energy LLC, Valero Energy Corp., and Infield Capital also invested in this round.
Solix COO Dr. Bryan Willson said that the company is currently at around 2500 gallons per acre, and said that the company is on track to achieve cost parity with $80 oil in 3-4 years.
The company has launched a third-generation of its bioreactors, a 20-meter system that integartes CO2 delivery and increase surface area. The system is water-supported to reduce cost. A fourth generation of photobioreactors is now under development. Willson said at the recent Biofuels: Science and Innovation conference in San Francisco that the problem with contamination of open-pond algae systems had not, in his opinion, been yet overcome.