About Us

The Aljadix co-founders first came together in 2015 in the expectation that the Paris Agreement would soon transform the international commitment towards renewable energy.  They were not disappointed.  The Paris Agreement confirms international support for entrepreneurial ventures to discover and develop novel solutions to mitigate climate change.  Carbon negative biofuel is one such highly innovative solution.  Carbon negative biofuel not only replaces liquid fossil fuel (e.g. petroleum) but also it removes carbon from the atmosphere.  Permanently.

The Aljadix process consumes tonnes of CO2 (which CO2 may be provided from coal-fired or natural gas fired power plants, from cement plants, or from atmospheric direct capture sources).  The CO2 is used to grow microalgae in our innovative fully-sealed sea surface cultivation platform.  Microalgae is well-known to be the feedstock of choice for biofuels, after all, it is the (ancient) source of all modern-day petroleum deposits.

The microalgae is converted into two co-products by hydrothermal liquefaction.  The first is a biocrude oil that is upgraded by hydrogen treatment to renewable diesel.  Renewable diesel is a 100% replacement for diesel fuel and can go directly into any diesel engine, with or without blending.  The second product is hydrochar.  Hydrochar contains chemically inert carbon.  The carbon is in a non-volatile, non-biodegradable form that is permanently removed from the atmosphere.  Hydrochar has some commercial uses, but the best way to think of it is as a carbon sink.  The more renewable diesel is used and consumed, the more hydrochar is generated.  Since the carbon contained in the hydrochar is greater than the carbon cost of the energy used in the process, the overall process is better than carbon neutral, it is truly carbon negative

Aljadix salutes those academics, inventors and businesses who have gone before us.  We’d like to acknowledge Dr. John Benneman and our predecessors Sapphire Energy, Aurora Biofuels, Algenol, Joule Unlimited, Solazyme (now TerraVia), Global Algae Innovations, Cool Planet (our predecessor in the carbon negative biofuel space) and literally hundreds of microalgae startups worldwide.  Our sea surface based cultivation platform is adapted from the OMEGA project, Algae Systems LLC, Algasol Renewables, Phytolutions and Prof. CG Lee (Inha University).

Tech Information:

Aljadix is developing carbon negative biofuel from microalgae feedstock.  Carbon negative biofuel is a novel negative emissions technology which not only replaces liquid fossil fuel but also removes carbon from the atmosphere.  Permanently.  Our process is highly scalable as it is driven by freely available sunlight, and uses no land and no freshwater.  Our microalgae consume tonnes of carbon dioxide.  The key to our solution is an innovative fully-sealed sea surface microalgae cultivation platform.  This platform is designed thermodynamically to capture a maximum of solar energy and carbon in the microalgae feedstock with a minimum of parasitic energy demand.  Recent improvements in high-efficiency harvesting and hydrothermal liquefaction allow the biomass to be converted to high-quality biocrude and a chemically inert carbon hydrochar, again at a minimum energy cost.  The carbon in hydrochar is sequestered, like coal, and does not biodegrade or return to the atmosphere.  The biocrude is upgraded to renewable diesel by hydrogen treatment and can be used directly in any diesel engine.  Aljadix delivers a breakthrough for climate saving technology:  highly-scalable carbon negative biofuel.

About Team Leader

Tom is a US and Canadian IP/transaction attorney who trained originally in plant and molecular biology.  Tom spent a dozen years with VC-financed biotech startups before being called up to Novartis, the global pharmaceutical company.  In 10 years at Novartis, Tom had diverse legal roles in the research division and the Novartis Venture Fund (both in Boston), followed by 3 years at the head office in Basel, Switzerland.  Tom’s interest in carbon negative biofuel began with his chance encounter in 2010 with a climate scientist and an oil-industry investor.

Team Members

Co-Founder Mike Allen, PhD, will lead the Growth Biology function.  Mike, a marine Microbial Chemist, is a program leader at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (Plymouth, UK).  Mike has deep knowledge of phytoplankton species, nutrition and associated viruses and bacteria which form the complex ecosystem of a rapidly growing microalgae colony.  Mike is a founding member of the GW4 AVaRICE Consortium (http://avarice.org.uk/).

Co-Founder Chris Chuck, PhD, will lead the Biofuel/Hydrochar Product function.  Chris is a chemical engineer whose lab at the University of Bath (Bath, UK) is focused on generating biofuels from hydrothermal liquefaction of all types of biomass, including microalgae.  Chris is a Reader at the University and recently held a Whorrod Research Fellowship. He is the lead researcher on a 4 year £4.4 million Innovate UK grant on biomass conversion technology.  Chris and Mike have worked together on multiple projects in the past 5 years.

Vasco Benito Garcia, M.B.A., is our Director of Bioreactor Development.  Vasco has experience in start-up businesses, especially commercial strategy, communications and website development.  Vasco’s most recent start-up was a therapeutic clinical trial organization based in Lisbon.  Vasco and Tom have been working together for three years.

Bryce Conacher, M.B.A. is Head of Corporate Development and leads our carbon market strategy.  Bryce is a serial entrepreneur who has spent 20 years developing renewable energy and carbon management programs.  Bryce developed the CleanAirPass, a voluntary carbon emissions offset program that was acquired by a global leader in in carbon management in 2008.   Most recently, Bryce was Director of Sustainability at one of Canada’s leading construction firms.

Advisory Board

Kerry Emanuel, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Climate Scientist

Adrian Drewett, PhD

Shell Oil, ret’d. 

Off-shore Development & Production

Kirby Calvert, PhD

University of Guelph

Geography of Renewable Fuel

Stefan Harpe

Social Venture Capital

25 years SVC finance

Aljadix Intro

Team Leader:
Thomas Digby, M.Sc., J.D.
Basel, Switzerland

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