LOS ANGELES --- OriginOil Inc. has agreed to work with the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to research and develop commercial applications for the company's algae-based fuels technology.

The multi-phase research program will focus on validation and commercial scaling of the company's technology by using equipment, capabilities, scientists and engineers of the INL. The initial phase, which starts immediately, will focus on the collaborative development of an energy balance model for photo-bioreactor-based algae systems. OriginOil expects to use this model in the optimization of its algae-to-oil technology as early as the first quarter of 2009. Subsequent phases will center on validation of the OriginOil processes and piloting specific commercial applications. 

Thomas H. Ulrich, advisory scientist for INL's biofuels and renewable energy department, said: "INL has been tasked with the key national security mandate of developing advanced renewable energy technology. Our primary challenge is cost-effective and scalable industrial processes, and our partnership with OriginOil will help us find solutions to this challenge in the promising area of algae-to-oil technology."

"Because algae represents such promise, we have been presented with numerous opportunities for partnerships in the public and private sector in the U.S. and abroad," said Vikram M. Pattarkine, OriginOil's chief technology officer. "We decided to begin with INL because it would be very productive across all of our initiatives."

In operation since 1949, the Idaho National Laboratory is dedicated to supporting the Department of Energy on energy research and national defense. Its mission is to ensure the nation's energy security with safe, competitive and sustainable energy systems and unique national and homeland security capabilities.