April 3, 2009

Algae advocate pushes for research

A leading advocate of turning algae into fuel says the U.S. recession and lower oil prices won't stop research in the technology.

No one has really looked at algae as a business opportunity until recently, said Barry Cohen, director of the Texas-based National Algae Association.

Algae, which some would call pond scum, shows promise as a biodiesel fuel and could potentially be developed to capture carbon emissions from polluting factories, Cohen told the Houston Chronicle in a story published Friday.

Despite high production costs and the sluggish U.S. economy, Cohen said the case for investing in algae technology remains strong given the Obama administration's desire to create so-called green jobs and wean the nation from oil dependency.

My mantra is: What are we waiting for? said Cohen, adding his group's conferences now include researchers and representatives from oil companies, airlines, the U.S. military and investment firms. The group's next meeting occurs April 30-May 1 in Houston.