February 1, 2011

OpenAlgae, LLC, Adds to Texas’ Budding Biofuel Market with ATI Membership

The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a not-for-profit unit of The University of Texas at Austin, announced today that OpenAlgae, LLC, joined as a member company of the ATI-Clean Energy Incubator.

OpenAlgae has developed revolutionary technologies to release and recover oils and other valuable products from algae. Its UT-based development team has built a working prototype for the solvent-less processing of algae that can scale for liquid fuel and nutraceutical applications.

OpenAlgae’s relationship with the ATI began at the ATI’s 2009 Clean Energy Venture Summit, building on the startup’s technical partnership with UT researchers that began in 2006. The meeting at CEVS established an informal consulting relationship that led to membership. The partnership establishes the Incubator's presence in the emerging algal oil industry and will accelerate and support OpenAlgae's path to market.

OpenAlgae CEO Hoyt Thomas said the counsel of ATI director Isaac Barchas and ATI-Clean Energy co-director Mitch Jacobson was a major draw for his decision to join. “The leadership at the ATI has much to offer OpenAlgae in terms of assistance in developing go-to-market and funding strategies,” said Thomas. “Membership in ATI will help make producing oil from algae a reality as we reach out to investors, build our company team and go to market.”

The membership will open OpenAlgae to the ATI’s deep pool of investor connections and help carry the company’s renewable, scalable fuel source to market. The company will leverage the ATI’s extensive talent network to build the team, strengthen its IP position and build and test its first field units. Initial field testing is scheduled for June of this year.

“OpenAlgae’s proprietary algal-oil recovery process represents not only a growing biofuel interest in Austin’s clean-energy ecosystem, but also a tremendous potential impact to fossil fuel consumption as we know it today,” said Jacobson. “Thomas is the right leader for this company, and its position with the CEI bodes well for the future of not only the city’s clean-energy economy, but the world’s.”

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