USA: Scottsdale, Arizona-based PetroSun, Inc. will commence operations on April 1 at its first commercial algae-to-biofuels facility. The algae farm in Rio Hondo, Texas, consists of 1,100 acres of saltwater ponds that the company projects will produce a minimum of 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million pounds of biomass on an annual basis.The company has dedicated 20 acres of ponds for a proposed algae derived JP8 jet fuel research and development program.
The Rio Hondo algae farm will be expanded in the future to provide the feedstock required by present or proposed company owned or joint venture biodiesel and ethanol refineries.PetroSun plans to construct or acquire additional plants in the Gulf Coast region that are reachable via barge up the Mississippi River and its tributaries including the Red River. The previously announced Bridgeport, Alabama, refinery will receive algal oil feedstock from this distribution program. New algae farms and algal oil extraction plants are planned for Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mexico, Brazil and Australia during 2008. The algal oil product will be marketed as feedstock to existing biodiesel refiners and planned company owned refineries.
"Our business model has been focused on proving the commercial feasibility of the firm's algae-to-biofuels technology during the past eighteen months," said Gordon LeBlanc, Jr., CEO of PetroSun. "Whether we have arrived at this point in time by a superior technological approach, sheer luck or a redneck can-do attitude, the fact remains that microalgae can outperform the current feedstocks utilized for conversion to biodiesel and ethanol, yet do not impact the consumable food markets or fresh water resources."PetroSun's operations include oil and gas exploration, development and production and algae-to-algal oil alternative fuels production. The oil and gas division is focused on the exploration of the Holbrook Basin of Arizona, the San Juan Basin of New Mexico and certain Australia prospects. The company also is developing oil and gas reserves in Louisiana.