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14
GREEN PLAINS 2011 ANNUAL REPORT
We’re moving out of the
development phase and into
the phase where our algae
will make it into customers’
finished products.
Algae blooms have flourished in the sea for millions of years.
They formed from the interaction of CO
2
and sunlight. When
they died off, they settled on the ocean floor. Through the
millennia, natural geological processes compressed this algal
biomass into kerogen and eventually into liquid oil. Over
time, the oil seeps up and is trapped in pools under caprock
called shale. Petroleum companies tap into these reserves
by drilling deep into the ocean floor, often at great expense,
and always in a manner that depletes the reserve.
Today, science has enabled us to shorten the million-year
cycle into a matter of days. Further, as we have learned
through our innovative approach to ethanol production, we
can produce energy reserves in a “renewable” fashion by
converting ethanol co-products into feed, food and fuel.
As a matter of fact, while the idea of algae production
sprang from a motive to create BTUs to fuel vehicles, ships
and planes, the greater opportunities to market algae lie in
food and feed.
For example, dried algae is a suitable substitute to satisfy
the demands of a 10 million ton market currently being
served by fishmeal. Additionally, dried algae is rich in
Omega-3 fatty acids, a product considered necessary for
healthy human nutrition, but which the body is unable to
produce on its own.
The most encouraging news in the BioProcess Algae story is
our pursuit of a co-location strategy, as CO
2
was little more
than a necessary result of ethanol production. Instead, Green
Plains is now in a position to pursue full-scale opportunities
with BioProcess Algae across our asset base.
From a strategic capital point of view, this process
potentially has a very favorable return. Our BioProcess Algae
demonstration plant in Shenandoah, Iowa has been funded
without any federal loans and rather through a unique
partnership between BioProcess Algae and the State of Iowa
Power Fund. We believe BioProcess Algae has developed
a very exciting technology. Further, we believe we are on
the right path to not just revenues, but profitability as we
continue to scale-up and build out the five-acre production
facility because it is an innovative, patented process
that naturally fits our footprint. In a sense, this positions
BioProcess Algae as the “algae farmer” with room to grow in
Shenandoah and throughout our platform.
BioProcess Algae: The Value Chain Expands