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More efforts to make biofuels from algae, microorganisms

By Chemical Engineering |

Over the past few weeks there has been a number of announcements on projects aimed to further develop algae-to-fuels technology (see also, “Pond Strength,” CE, September 2008, pp. 22–25). Plankton Power (Wellfleet; www.planktonpower.com) and the Regional Technology Development Corp. of Cape Cod (RTDC; Woods Hole, both Mass.; www.regionaltechcorp.org) have formed a consortium to establish the Cape Cod Algae Biorefinery, which will focus on pilot- and commercial-scale development of algae-based biodiesel. The proposed biorefinery will be located on 5 acres of land at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (Bourne). Starting in the fall of 2010, Plankton Power expects to produce 1-million gal/yr of biodiesel in pilot-scale operations, using the company’s cold-saltwater algae species. Commercial-scale operations on 100 acres could produce 100-million gal/yr, which would meet 5% of the demand for diesel and home heating fuel in the state of Massachusetts, says the firm. Meanwhile, petroleum major ExxonMobil (Irvine, Tex.; www.exxonmobil.com) has formed an alliance with Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI; La Jolla, Calif.; www.syntheticgenomics.com) to develop next generation biofuels from algae, following earlier leads…
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