April 3, 2009

Algae promoted for biofuel use

The director of the National Algae Association in Texas says tiny waterborne plants may be the future of biofuels.

Association Director Barry Cohen said the plants, commonly referred to as pond scum, are the perfect industry for the United States to invest in as the price of crude oil is expected to rise again and officials search for ways of decreasing dependence on foreign oil and create jobs in green sectors, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

My mantra is: What are we waiting for? Cohen said.

We have land being thrown at us, not for sale, not for lease, but for free, Cohen said. Land is a non-issue for this industry.

However, Divya Reddy, an energy analyst for the Eurasia Group in Washington, told the Chronicle it could be 10 years before algae-based fuels are widely available because algae oil production costs $20 a gallon, nearly double the price for other leading biofuel sources.

Cohen said to the newspaper that he expects the price to drop significantly, saying he has seen business plans that estimate the cost to be as low as $1.50 per gallon.