Algae-ethanol Coming Soon

John Davis

Well, just as soon as I posted the previous story about Solazyme making the world’s first algae-based biodiesel to meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D-975 specifications, I found a story about a producer that plans to make ethanol out of algae.

This story from Reuters says Algenol Biofuels has big plans for making the green fuel south of the border:

The company has signed an $850 million deal with a Mexican company BioFields to grow algae, one of the planet’s first life forms, that has been trained to convert water, sunlight, and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into motor fuel.

Paul Woods, Algenol’s chief executive, said he’s known the technology for decades but that today’s record oil prices and rising alarm about global warming make it time to produce the fuel.

“It really is a one-two combination that no other company can deliver,” Woods told Reuters in an interview this week.

Woods says it was back in the 1980s when he came up with the process that allows the algae cells to produce ethanol directly… as opposed to biodiesel’s method of having the algae produce oil to be made into biodiesel.

Algenol plans to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol at its plant in the Mexican Sonoran Desert by the end of next year. And by 2012, company officials say they’ll be cranking out a BILLION gallons a year.

Ethanol, News