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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions

Algae Grows Biofuel in Imperial Valley California

Algae is the new renewable fuel -- and is now being used to produce jet fuel and diesel fuel.

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Algae farms are being developed in the Imperial Valley of Californai to product clean, renewable, sustainable, and domestic, oil production by harnessing the productive power of algae.

The University of California, San Diego has created a Center for Biotechnology to combine work done in biotech labs with commercial fields like the ones currently developing in El Centro.

Regional Algae Initiative

Because no other region can match the Imperial Valley / San Diego region’s essential combination of abundant sunshine, world-class microbial, marine, and genetic research strengths, large flat areas of both arable and non-arable land nearby, nutrient-rich water resources, and strong societal interests in alternative fuels, water conservation, and sustainability. This combined "algae utopia" has blessed the San Diego and Imperial Valley region as a natural incubator and catalyst for developing a broad-based, economically and environmentally-strong, long-term algae industry.

Cooperation between Imperial Valley and San Diego will extend beyond the labs and companies, as the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp. has partnered with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. to create the Regional Algae Initiative — a way to combine resources and efforts to build up the algae industry in both areas.

Three companies in El Centro are currently experimenting with different algae production techniques: Kent BioEnergy, Carbon Capture and SunEco Energy. All three algae/energy companies are set up around the Salton Sea, it is hoped, will ultimately benefit the overly stressed sea.

While little can be done to pull out the algae already in the sea, it can be starved by putting an algae farm near where the New and Alamo rivers feed into the sea. The farm algae could gobble up the phosphorous in the water — their main food source — and the cleaner water could be re-routed into the sea.

Algae industry training and and green jobs for Imperial Valley locals can also help save the Salton Sea. This home grown industry could also support local dairy and cattle industries by using cattle manure as algae food.

While algae-based biofuels are new on the US scene, there are companies around the world developing technology at a rapid pace.

RESOURCE (coming):
The Regional Algae Initiative has been formed to raise awareness of the economic development opportunities.

San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology
Innovative solutions that partner algae research with private industry for commercial success through a focused, integrated R&D effort that encompasses biology, chemistry, and engineering for energy and economic solutions.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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