Mexicans to produce algae biofuels on industrial scale

by Antonio Pasolini on December 21, 2009

Source: Algenol Biofuels

Source: Algenol Biofuels

Biofields, a Mexican clean energy firm, has licensed Algenol’s Direct to Ethanol© technology whereby it can turn an algae cell of a hybrid blue-green seaweed into a ‘tiny ethanol factory’. Biofield’s plant to produce algae biofuel will be sited at Puerto Libertad, in the state of Sonara, 300 km from the United States. The plant should be completed by the second half of 2010 and the goal is to produce over 946 million litres by 2014.

The technique exacerbates the production of ethanol from algae, which can then be mixed with gasoline. According to Algenol, the Direct to Ethanol© process links sugar production to photosynthesis with enzymes within individual algae cells. The enzymes are naturally occurring and are the same as those used to produce bread, beer and wine, thus pose no known risks to humans.

“Most algae have a really tiny ability to make ethanol, and we’ve enhanced it greatly,” Algenol’s CEO Paul Woods told Cnet. “We take in sunlight, massive amounts of carbon dioxide, and we grow (algae) in what look like a huge soda bottle on its side.”

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