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The number 2 oil producer in the USA, Chevron, has signed an agreement with San Francisco based startup Solazyme to develop and test an industrial process for deriving biodiesel from algae. The Solazyme process is reported to solve one of the major obstacles to industrial production of biodiesel from algae. Algae usually rely on photosynthesis for energy to consume CO2 and produce oils. Biodiesel can be harvested from the algae, which can be composed of up to 50% oily matter. But getting sunlight to the algae in industrial-scale processes is difficult.
So how does Solazyme solve the problem? By growing a special strain of algae in the dark.
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