The technology is not unproven. It can and does produce diesel fuel. What is still in question is the enough money to be made to justify the capital cost.
A simple change in how the government reauthorizes CRP (crop reduction program) payments can create a whole new agriculture / oil market. Land that is currently considered non-farmable and not currently qualifying for CRP payments, may be converted to grow algae and no other crops and still qualify for CRP. A minimum of 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel must be sold to the market to qualify.
Run this program for 10 years with an automatic “kill” of the program at the end of that time.
True, that wasn't the best choice of words.
Question is, will it scale up. The US uses, what, 20-odd million bls of crude a day? That's a whole lot of algae.
I think that it's worth investigating. But, for BO to say "Sure, we'll just do .....this" is dumb. But not unexpected. :-)