With more than 130,000 workers currently employed in its renewable energy sector, Florida is currently undergoing a green-tech boom. While a number of cities are making their presence felt in the field of alternative energy, Tampa is leading the pack with the city currently boasting almost 9 Megawatts of customer-owned PVs. According to industry watchers, biofuel is the next big thing which is going to happen to the city’s green energy sector.
Tampa Is Turning Its Trash into Cash
Biomass is already a popular source of alternative energy in the US with this biomass-derived green fuel accounting for roughly half of all the renewable energy produced across the nation. In fact people in the US use more of it than any other country in the world. According to renewable energy thought leaders, as one of the most prolific sources of biomass in the United States, Tampa is poised to play a bigger role in this sector in the upcoming years. Apart from being a highly populated city, Tampa attracts millions of tourists every year, subsequently contributing to the establishment of hundreds of municipal waste facilities. With the city using these facilities to their full potential, this great volume of waste is creating huge financial opportunities for the city of sun and sand. New jobs are being created. Most importantly it is stirring up huge public interest in alternative fuels. More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of switching from traditional fossil fuel based energy to alternative energy. All these are opening up new research opportunities and attracting investments, subsequently boosting the job market in and around the city.
Ethanol-Based Biofuel Technologies Are Shaping Florida’s Energy Future
Ethanol, which is a renewable fuel mainly produced from agricultural crops such as sugar cane and corn, can go a long way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut down the nation’s dependency on imported oil. In addition, green fuel generation will create jobs, subsequently stimulating the local economies. A number of research projects are being carried on in some of Tampa Bay area’s premier institutions that are focused on developing, assessing, and commercializing the technologies that may help produce sustainable Ethanol-based biofuels from inedible sources, such as biomass and algae.
Green energy firm Algenol is a good case in point. This Fort Myers-based company is bringing an algae-based ethanol product to the market for the first time through a distributorship contract with a Boca Raton-based marketing company. In a news statement, the company CEO Paul Woods said that this ethanol-based product, christened as Algenol, is more efficient than its corn-based counterparts. While Algenol yields a whopping 8,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year, for corn-based ethanol the figure stands at an annual production of only 420 gallons per acre. Wood is hopeful that through its partnership with the Boca Raton firm, Algenol will be able to distribute 18 million gallons of algae-derived ethanol every year. The fuel can be used by the region’s retail fuel stations as well as fleet vehicle applications.
MagneGas, Too, Holds Promise
The brainchild of ex-Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Ruggero Santilli, MagneGas is another alternative energy product that is hugely helping the Sunshine State in its journey toward energy independence. Made from liquid waste, such as vegetable oil, MagneGas provides a cleaner alternative to natural gas and is ideal for powering bio-fuel vehicles, cooking and heating. The fact that over 100,000 cylinders were sold in just three years, the product seems to hold strong market potential.
Companies with a stake in the green energy sector are pumping in millions of dollars to pave the way for cleaner and potentially more affordable fuel solutions. Thanks to these initiatives concerning alternative energy, Tampa has emerged as one of the commendable forces in the clean-tech space. A strong partnership between the corporate sector and the universities can help the state take bigger strides toward a greener future.