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Dr. John Benemann, one of the authors of a seminal U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory report from 1998 on biofuel from algae and an internationally-recognized bioenergy expert said he thinks LiveFuels is “in as good of shape as anybody” to make its R&D happen.
Morgenthaler-Jones said LiveFuels has been taking a different direction since 2006, growing the algae in what the company said is low-cost, saltwater ponds, feeding the algae to tiny, filter-feeding fish and other aquatic herbivores and then processing them for renewable oils and other valuable products such as omega-3 fatty acids.
The oil would then be “handed off to the petroleum guys,” Morgenthaler-Jones said.
“Fish need 1/800th of the energy of a centrifuge to process algal water,” she said, adding that as a bonus, the fish do the lipid conversion themselves.
In the near future, Morgenthaler-Jones said the company is looking to achieve 5,000 pounds of fish per acre, eventually getting to an intermediate stage of 25,000 pounds per acre. It’s unclear, she said, whether that intermediate stage would happen in Texas, or on reclaimed bayou land in Louisiana, for which the company is currently scouting.
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