Algae is all the rage as the next great feedstock for biodiesel… although the longtime champion for the green fuel, soybeans, might not be ready to give up its crown to the green pond scum.
One the one hand, you have guys like Riggs Eckelberry, the CEO of Origin Oil… a company that develops technology to turn algae into oil that can be turned into biodiesel. He was featured in a recent episode of PBS’s Nova Science Now talking about the potential of algae being made into the renewable fuel. I talked to him about the future of algae as the ultimate biodiesel feedstock. Eckelberry believes that soybean-based biodiesel, while a great start for the industry, is not sustainable in the long run.
But the folks at the United Soybean Board might take issue with that contention, pointing out that soybeans provide an important feed for animals while also providing the feedstock for high-quality biodiesel… getting food AND fuel out of the same bean. And the USB recently released a study that shows American farmers were able to pocket an extra $2.5 billion dollars over the last four years because of the extra value biodiesel has added to their soybean crops.
Leonard Kosar, CEO of Hero BX… formerly known as Lake Erie Biofuels… a biodiesel maker that uses a variety of feedstocks, tells us that while there will be new feedstocks developed, we should not forget that the biodiesel industry was built on soybeans.
It’s an interesting conversation, and you can hear more of it here: [audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/domesticfuel/DFCast-9-18-09.mp3]