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Old Dominion University (ODU) Studying to Convert Algae to Biofuel

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Several partners are proposing to develop a $50 million algae farm on city-owned land where the slimy, aquatic growth would be converted into biodiesel fuel and other forms of alternative energy.

Much of the proposal, however, hinges on federal stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Energy. ODU and its partners are asking for $46 million from a $100 million pool set aside by the Obama administration for advancing algae-to-biodiesel technology.

A decision about the funding is expected as soon as next month, and by the end of the year at the latest, project sponsors said.The Virginia Beach proposal includes three private companies that are committing money and support for the bigger farm, and involves researchers from ODU, George Washington University, Jacksonville State University, the University of Michigan and South Dakota State University, according to a prospectus.

Pat Hatcher, a professor leading the initiative said “There’s a lot of interest in this technology, and we have lots of avenues open to us.”

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