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Green Gold: A Look at Algae's Investment Potential

VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 2

Significant production of algae biofuels could provide a substantial portion of transportation fuel needs. That's because algae have a much higher productivity potential than crop-based biofuels. Growing algae is also very water efficient. Producing enough to make 60 billion gallons a year of biodiesel could require as little as 16 trillion gallons of water. Its productivity per acre compared to other sources of biofuels is astounding, between 1,200 and 10,000 gallons per square meter per day, depending on the triglyceride content of the particular alga species.

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									     Green Gold: A Look at Algae’s Investment Potential
     By Nick Hodge
        Significant production of algae biofuels could             •	 It	is	not	in	direct	competition	with	food	crops.
     provide a substantial portion of transportation fuel              T
                                                                   •	 	 here	is	a	multitude	of	algae	biofuel	value-added	
     needs. That’s because algae have a much higher                    byproducts, such as syn-gas, high-protein animal
     productivity potential than crop-based biofuels.                  feeds, agricultural fertilizers, biopolymers
     These high yields can be attributed to algae’s high               (plastic), glycerin, and even ethanol and jet fuel.
     growth rate, which is often monitored in hours instead        Look for the efficient extraction and refining of
     of days, and to requiring inputs of only land, sunlight,    algae into biofuels within the next five years.
     water, carbon dioxide (potential for carbon credits),         Some of the companies that are already working in
     and nutrients. While deriving fuel oil from algae might     algae growth, harvesting, and biofuel production
     have been cost prohibitive in the past, the cost of a       include GreenShift Corporation, Nanoforce Inc.,
     barrel of algal oil, once commercialized, has been          Valcent Products Inc., Green Star Products, OriginOil
     forecast as low as $20.                                     Inc., and PetroSun Inc.
        Growing algae is also very water efficient.                This is a technology also being pursued by energy
     Producing enough to make 60 billion gallons a               giants like Royal Dutch Shell. It’s still a nascent industry
     year of biodiesel could require as little as 16 trillion    but is attracting a great deal of venture capital. The
     gallons of water. To put that in perspective, we use 48     companies that find winning solutions will become
     trillion gallons of water per year to grow corn in the      major players in the energy markets of the future. ❑
     United States.
        Its productivity per acre compared to other sources                     About the Author
     of biofuels is astounding, between 1,200 and 10,000                        Nick Hodge is the managing editor of Alternative
     gallons per square meter per day, depending on the                         Energy Speculator, an investment advisory ser-
     triglyceride content of the particular alga species.                       vice that focuses primarily on clean energy and
        The other benefits of algae biofuel:                                    emission-reduction technologies. He is also an
                                                                                editor at Green Chip Stocks, www.greenchipstocks
            N
        •	 	 o	one	country	(or	host	of	hostile	countries)	has	
                                                                                .com.
            a monopoly on algae production or the algae                            He may be contacted at nick.hodge@
            production equipment.                                greenchipstocks.com. A more extensive treatment of this subject
            A
     
								
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