Algenol Biofuels has officially christened its new biofuels and green chemistry lab and R&D facility in Fort Myers, FL yesterday with a ribbon cutting celebration. On hand for the event were U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), Lee County Commission Chairwoman Tammy Hall, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, and Algenol Founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Woods. The lab in part, became a reality with a $10 million incentive grant from the Lee County Board of Commissioners.
The 40,000 square-foot facility houses an advanced algae biology, engineering, carbon dioxide (CO2) and green chemistry laboratory, as part of the larger Lee Integrated Biorefinery. An adjoining 4-acre outdoor R&D area and 36-acre outdoor commercialization area will hold the company’s proprietary photobioreactors—the containers that generate ethanol from algae, saltwater and CO2 using Algenol’s patented Direct to Ethanol™ technology.
“Today is a remarkable milestone in our quest to bring algae-based biofuels and bio-based chemicals to commercialization, said Woods during the ceremony. “With the opening of our new biofuels and green chemistry facility, we aim to make Florida a hub for green, clean technology innovation that will create jobs, lessen our dependence on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.”
Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14) welcomed Algenol Biofuels and said that the lab was a win for Southwest Florida as well as the state. “This company is a terrific example of how private enterprise can lead the way in alternative energy development. By working together, we can diversify our nation’s energy needs and strengthen our economy,” added Mack.
Algenol is also researching related ethanol products including using ethanol and other green chemicals as a replacement for petroleum in plastic and chemical building blocks. To further is research goals, the company has formed a partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University to assist in establishing programs for students interested in pursuing careers in the green chemistry and biofuels industries.