n New Mexico Business Weekly, Kevin Robinson-Avila reports that Eldorado Biofuels LLC has constructed four raceway ponds at a one-acre site in Jal, in Lea County, New Mexico, where it grows algae with produced water from oil and gas production using a proprietary process to treat the water for algae cultivation.
“We’ve been growing algae since June and harvesting it since July,” said Eldorado President and CEO Paul Laur. “We’ve been stockpiling it to build up inventory and send samples to prospective companies who want to test their own technology to extract oil, and to refineries to turn it into fuels. We’re on track now to scale up and make some headway with sales and marketing.”
The company will add four more raceway ponds this month, building the project out to 1.5 acres. “We’ll start selling product in the next week or so,” Laur told the Business Weekly on Jan. 6.
Eldorado will sell three products: algae paste for use by other companies to extract oil, as well as oil that Eldorado extracts itself and sends to refineries, and protein-rich, lipid-extracted algae as livestock feed. In the future, the company will bill oil-and-gas firms to take produced water off their hands. That helps resolve the need for massive amounts of water to grow algae in the desert, while offsetting operational costs to lower the final price for fuels developed by Eldorado.
The company, which previously received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, received another $100,000 grant from the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program in September to work with people in the oil and cattle industries to explore setting up more algae facilities on their lands, Laur said.