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Could West Texas algae curb oil dependence?
Houston Chronicle ^ | Oct. 7, 2007 | Brett Clanton

Posted on 10/08/2007 11:17:35 AM PDT by According2RecentPollsAirIsGood

ANTHONY — A year ago, this dusty patch of land near the New Mexico border contained little more than dirt and the odd sprig of alfalfa. Today, it is home to a $3 million laboratory that is crackling with activity.

The hi-tech lab was built for a peculiar but possibly revolutionary purpose: to explore ways algae can be used to reduce the world's dependence on oil.

An arid stretch of West Texas might seem like a strange place to study the tiny water-borne plants, but the work is more than just a big idea.

The two companies behind it, El Paso's Valcent Products and Canadian alternative energy firm Global Green Solutions, have developed a system they claim will allow for cheap mass production of algae in just about any corner of the world.

Such a breakthrough, though still untested on a wide scale, could greatly accelerate the expansion of renewable fuels like biodiesel and ethanol because the oil extracted from algae can be used to make those fuels, said the companies who own the lab through a joint venture called Vertigro.

Today, those fuels are seen as having limited potential to curb oil consumption because they rely on oils from food crops like corn and soybeans, whose prices are rising. But algae could change the equation.

"This market is enormous," said Global Green CEO Doug Frater. "And it's waiting for us."

(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: algae; biofuels; energy; technology
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Front page of the Chronicle today. Regardless of the various political debates going on right now, the technology right now surrounding biofuels is very interesting and quite exciting in many cases. With the price of oil now, it's also moving ahead at breakneck speed. There's some very cool things going on, and this algae tech is just one of many.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the article:

"Vertigro, however, is not waiting on Uncle Sam to act. The company is about to begin building a pilot plant behind the research lab in Anthony, and company officials say they are in talks with biodiesel producers about licensing their "closed-loop" algae-production system."

"The bags, which are pumped with carbon dioxide and exposed to the sun, help the algae speed along photosynthesis. In this setting, the tiny green organisms can reproduce up to six times every 24 hours.
'That's pretty sexy,' Frater said, in his Scottish accent." =D

Here's a neat video from Valcent's website demonstrating the process.
1 posted on 10/08/2007 11:17:39 AM PDT by According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood

Thats almost as fast as KudZu.
I still think they should investiate Kudzu for bio-diesel.


2 posted on 10/08/2007 11:27:00 AM PDT by golfisnr1 (Democrats are like roaches - hard to get rid of.)
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
It's kinda cool that algae grows in Diesel fuel. Now Diesel grows in algae.

In any event, I'm readhy to burn some of this stuff, especially if it's, say, $1.50/gal retail.

3 posted on 10/08/2007 11:27:09 AM PDT by Paladin2 (We don't fix the problem, we fix the blame!)
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood; Red Badger

ping.


4 posted on 10/08/2007 11:27:27 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
“About 20,000 bags can be hung in one square acre, yielding 100,000 gallons of algae oil per year, Kertz said. By contrast, one acre of soybeans can produce just 50 gallons of soybean oil a year and one acre of corn yields 29 gallons per year, Vertigro said.’

why does this make me think....

SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!

5 posted on 10/08/2007 11:28:17 AM PDT by dblshot
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
This market is enormous," said Global Green CEO Doug Frater.

The alternatives to crude oil products will cost more unless they are coal.

6 posted on 10/08/2007 11:30:04 AM PDT by RightWhale (50 years later we're still sitting on the ground)
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To: golfisnr1
"investiate Kudzu"

They tried but the research facility was over-taken by the Kudzu and had to be abandoned. /sc off

7 posted on 10/08/2007 11:31:05 AM PDT by Deguello
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood; sully777; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; ...
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.......

If you want on or off the DIESEL ”KnOcK” LIST just FReepmail me........

This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days......

8 posted on 10/08/2007 11:32:00 AM PDT by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we have consensus.......)
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To: Eaker; Squantos

Sheesh, you Texans... even your pondscum thinks it’s special.


9 posted on 10/08/2007 11:34:43 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Deguello

Not so far fetched after all. ;)


10 posted on 10/08/2007 11:35:27 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: RightWhale

How do you figure?


11 posted on 10/08/2007 11:37:56 AM PDT by Freeport
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To: Freeport

Doesn’t everyone own at least one Diesel powered vehicle?


12 posted on 10/08/2007 11:39:34 AM PDT by Paladin2 (We don't fix the problem, we fix the blame!)
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To: Freeport

Even coal costs twice what it cost a few years ago, but it’s still cheap and plentiful. Gov’t will probably regulate the USA mines out of existence, so even that will have to be imported.


13 posted on 10/08/2007 11:41:16 AM PDT by RightWhale (50 years later we're still sitting on the ground)
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
They say that one tenth of the land area of New Mexico could supply the entire US with it's oil needs...let's give them the whole state.

BTW, I've read the 85% of the land in NM is owned by the federal government.

14 posted on 10/08/2007 11:43:37 AM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Spewed coffee all over the keyboard. Howdy and welcome to the State Fair of Texas the biggest and best state fair in the country. The only state fair with a song and a movie about it. Our cows make some great cow ____. Come on down.


15 posted on 10/08/2007 11:44:20 AM PDT by q_an_a
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To: Tijeras_Slim
land near the New Mexico border .........We like to think of it as a septic tank.........;o)
16 posted on 10/08/2007 11:44:22 AM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: Deguello
I'd guess we're waiting for a low coefficient of drag, double turbo powered Kudzu combine that could outrun the stuff and harvest it faster than it grows.

Maybe the lab could be located at the Space Station and avoid being overcome with the threat of full vacuum annihilation of any unruly specimens.

17 posted on 10/08/2007 11:44:45 AM PDT by Paladin2 (We don't fix the problem, we fix the blame!)
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To: According2RecentPollsAirIsGood
Could West Texas algae curb oil dependence? No........
18 posted on 10/08/2007 11:44:53 AM PDT by nuke rocketeer
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To: Deguello; golfisnr1

Kudzu Research Facility

Employee Parking By Lunch Time

19 posted on 10/08/2007 11:50:01 AM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Paladin2

LOL !


20 posted on 10/08/2007 11:50:21 AM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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