They plan to invest up to $600 million with Synthetic Genomics to create biofuel from algae which is chemically identical to gasoline and diesel. This means it could be pumped directly into pipelines with petroleum-based fuel, something which would be a seriously big deal.
If PetroAlgae’s assertions hold true, the cost of fuel production is essentially paid for by the revenue from food and feed products, meaning that their microbe-derived fuels will remain competitive with fossil fuels, at any price.
Desert Biofuels Initiative, Inc. is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit social venture aimed at advancing the development of a robust sustainable biofuels infrastructure in the Sonoran Desert region, throughout the U.S., and around the globe.
It is indeed remarkable that years of work and experimentation in the art of growing shrimp in the Arizona desert gives us a tremendous head start in the commercial production of algae. An old saying in the shrimp business is that “shrimp farmers don’t raise shrimp, they raise algae”.
The low humidity, high temperature Arizona desert is ideal for raising algae. The high elevation means more sun intensity too.
Sapphire Energy expects to double output of jet fuel and diesel to 1 million gallons by 2011, 100 million gallons by 2018, and 1 billion gallons by 2025 – all from algae.
Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms, using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not use potable water; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; and are low carbon, renewable and scalable.
Bill Gates is a major investor in Sapphire Energy.
The Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas has meticulously assembled over 3,000 species of algae. It used to be a curiosity to most. Now, with huge interest in algae biofuel, researchers from all over the world are ordering samples.
A plan to use algae to simultaneously treat wastewater and produce the raw materials for biofuels won the inaugural Clean Energy Prize on Friday.
The students at Univ. of Michigan who won the top prize of $65,000 plan to use it to start up the business.
“We’re trying to address two major global concerns: clean water and clean energy,” said Geoff Horst, an ecology doctoral student at MSU who developed the technology,” and we can do that with one process.”