While corn and sugar crops are blamed for deforestation, fertilizer runoff, and societal damage, algae promises to possibly provide a better solution. Melbourne, Fla. based PetroAlgae is looking to test a commercial algae biofuel solution next year. The company uses strains of the tiny organism developed by researchers at Arizona State University. They are developing harvesting methods and bioreactors to take full advantage of the new fuel source, and allow it to be affordably mass produced.
Fred Tennant, PetroAlgae’s vice president of business development, is among the leaders in the endeavor. He is overseeing the development of a process in which algae is harvested from fresh-water ponds and then converted to oil and refined to biodiesel. The byproducts are equally valuable, and can be used as a protein rich animal feed.
The plant may be able to strike deals with electricity utilities too.
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The Oilgae Comprehensive Report gives numerous case studies and examples of what the pioneers are doing in this domain.
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