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Scientists hope soon grow oil from algae
By Scott Nance, Oct 18 2006
1. A small California firm has partnered with one of the largest U.S. government labs in an effort to create biocrude oil by the year 2010. The project aims to use algae to replace dependence on imported oil.
2. Funded by LiveFuels Inc., the scientific alliance will be led by Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Department of Energy national lab, and is expected to sponsor dozens of labs and hundreds of scientists by the year 2010.
3. Algal oil is similar to soybean oil but can be grown on marginal lands unsuitable for food crops. Algae can be grown in fresh or brackish water, making it an ideal solution for farmers dealing with issues of agricultural run-off.
4. Algal oil could fill the gap for non-edible uses like biofuels, according to the company.
5. The challenge facing LiveFuels’ scientists will be growing and transforming algae cheaply into biocrude within days rather than millennia, the company says.
6. Theoretically, algae can yield 1,000 to 20,000 gallons of oil per acre.
7. Various stages of research at LiveFuels are: breeding various strains of algae, working on driving down the costs of harvesting algae, and working on extracting the needed fats and oils from the algae.
Personalities mentioned: Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, chief executive officer at LiveFuels
Organizations mentioned: Sandia National Laboratories, a DOE laboratory managed by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
Full article here
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