Valcent Products are looking to algae as a source of renewable bio-fuel for the future. The El Paso, Texas based firm joined forces with Canadian alternative fuel company Global Green Solutions to patent a revolutionary algae growing system.
The Vertigro patented technology grows the algae in hanging and rotating plastic bags, removing the plant from grimy ponds. As Glen Kertz, CEO of Valcent , told CNN this week:
“By going vertical, you can get a lot more surface area to expose cells to the sunlight. It keeps the algae hanging in the sunlight just long enough to pick up the solar energy they need to produce, to go through photosynthesis.”
Watch the video of how Vertigro works.
Algae has great potential as eco-energy because it grows rapidly and up to 50% of its weight is lipid oil that can be used as a biofuel. Kertz told CNN that an acre of land can produce up to 100,000 gallons of algae oil per year; far more efficient than corn (30 gallons) or soybean (50 gallons) biodiesel.
Valcent researchers claim there are 65,000 species of algae that can be put under the microscope and tailored for specific energy – truck diesel or jet fuel.
The big oil desert state of Texas seems an unlikely place for the future of a small algae biofuel industry. But with the soaring price of all energy forms, conventional wisdom does not hold.
Spirulina, a dietary supplement based on blue green algae, has been fuelling humans for years.