The Race For Economically Viable Algae-Based Fuel

Written by Judith Ceja
Nov 22, 2010 at 03:55 PM

Algae is responsible for most of the oxygen we breath and now is being evaluated as an economically feasible biofuel. While the major automotive and oil companies are all looking at algae-based fuels, the major players in this market are emerging biotech companies like Synthetics Genomics, Algae Systems, and Solazyme. Synthetic Genomics is working in conjunction with Exxon Mobile. They have established an actual greenhouse for their research on the feasibility of algae as a potential biofuel.

Picture source: Xalamay

Solazyme is working with Ecopetrol, a Columbian Oil Company, with a state goal of producing 450 million tons of fuel form renewable oil sources by 2015. Solazyme was named a 2009-2010 “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy”. Johantan Wolfson, CEO of Solazyme comments, “Ecopetrol’s thought leadership and commitment to developing renewable sources of fuel is inspiring. Working with Ecopetrol, Solazymej’s technology will provide Colombia with renewable sources of oil and fuel that dramatically reduce carbon pollution by replacing petro-diesel with a ‘drop-in’ replacement made using algae.”

Solazme also just partnered with the US Navy, which ordered 150,000 gallons of biofuel for use with ships and jets. The US Navy tested the use of Solazyme’s algae fules on a Navy Riverine command boat using a 50/50 mixture of algae-based fule and diesel fuel.

“Solazyme is proud to provide the first microbially derived ship fuel used by the Navy in a military boat. The United States Navy’s commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels has taken another step forward today and we applaud their leadership. We are honored to be a part of Navy’s efforts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”
In a previous article TheJemReport covered an energy conversion system developed by NASA as a bioreactor which has become known as the OMEGA system. The name stems from the system being an offshore membrane enclosure for growing Algae. Algae Systems has partnered with NASA to provide a commercial system around the technology. “The OMEGA technology has transformational powers. It can convert sewage and carbon dioxide into abundant and inexpensive fuels,” said Matthew Atwood, president and founder of Algae Systems. (

Last Updated ( Feb 28, 2011 at 02:28 PM )

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