Manta Biofuel LLC just got $150,000 in seed money to develop a next-gen autonomous, algae harvester that will produce cost-competitive oil as well as clean up algae-invested waters. It’s a double win. I really hope this scales commercially because it’s a great idea. Pond scum can be your friend.
From their website:
Growing algae is relatively simple. As long as there are enough nutrients and sunlight, algae will grow rapidly. Since our technology allows us to harvest any algae, we can utilize the native colonies and natural blooms.
Our portable, floating harvesters rely on solar power, autonomously navigate through the waters and collect algae, utilizing our novel technology.
The collected algal biomass is converted to crude oil by being subjected to high temperature and pressure, in a process called hydrothermal liquefaction.
The oil produced is largely equivalent to petroleum and can be used as a drop in replacement at the refinery level. The fuels produced from this product are renewable and carbon neutral.