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The first commercial algae-to-biofuels facility goes online in USA

Algae-to-biofuels facility

PetroSun launched the world's first commercial algae-to-biofuel facility in Rio Hondo (Texas, USA) earlier this month.

The facility consists of up to 1100 acres (445,15 hectares) of saltwater ponds were the company will be growing the algae. 20 of those acres will be used to produce biofuels from algae. Another 20 acres will be used to produce an experimental jet fuel.

The whole facility is expected to produce around 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and around 110 million pounds of biomass per year.

Gordon LeBlanc, Jr., CEO of PetroSun said that their "business model has been focused on proving the commercial feasibility of the firms' algae-to-biofuels technology during the past eighteen months."

He continued by saying:

"Whether we have arrived at this point in time by a superior technological approach, sheer luck or a redneck can-do attitude, the fact remains that microalgae can outperform the current feedstocks utilized for conversion to biodiesel and ethanol, yet do not impact the consumable food markets or fresh water resources."

According to PetroSun they are planning on starting algae farms and algal oil extraction plants in other US states during 2008. They also have plans to expand their business to Mexico, Brazil and Australia.

The above image shows the algae-to-biofuels facility in Texas. Image credit: Google Maps.

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Producing jet fuel would be fantastic. Positive results will surely change the way we travel. For this is a crucial period in history - fossil reserves are running out and a suitable alternative has to be found. Hope this venture yields successful results. By the way, you might want to have a look at the resources we provide for the latest in Bio-Fuels @ our Future of Engineering Blog

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