LOS ANGELES --- OriginOil Inc. (OOIL), which is developing technology to transform algae into fuel, announced the successful automation of its Helix BioReactor system that's designed to make large-scale commercial algae production scalable.

The Helix BioReactor uses low-energy lights arranged in a helix pattern and a rotating vertical shaft design, which allows algae culture to replicate exponentially within a smaller installation footprint. Automation of this system is a key step towards continuous algae production, allowing greater control of the growth environment and efficient, low-cost industrial algae production, OriginOil said.

"Algae is such a fantastic biofuel source because it grows quickly, is inexpensive to harvest and provides abundant amounts of oil relative to its size," explained OriginOil founder and CEO Riggs Eckelberry. "The successful automation of our Helix BioReactor is an enormous leap for us, as it brings us one step closer to ending the world's reliance on petroleum."  

The automation will provide real-time control over all stages of monitoring, nutrient injection and CO2 delivery at the micron or quantum fracturing level, the company said. Nutrient and CO2 delivery are timed precisely to a proprietary algorithm to provide an optimum micron-mixed fluid in the bioreactor. Through programming of certain key metrics, such as pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and temperature, the system is capable of not only monitoring but also controlling flow and timing of events in the algae growth cycle, which is crucial to controlling batch health in continuous algae production.

Nicholas Eckelberry, co-founder of OriginOil, concluded: "By understanding the underlying code issues in the software design, we can utilize this information in our upcoming larger bioreactor versions, which is imperative to establishing algae as a true solution within the energy sector."

OriginOil is based in Los Angeles.