Cambridge's GreenFuel Technology Corp. will participate in a 195-day test to determine whether algae production can produce energy.
GreenFuel and Omaha's Green Plains Renewable Energy recently received preliminary approval from the Iowa Power Fund for a $2.3 million grant to fund research and development of algae-based biofuel feedstock production.
The project is expected to use carbon dioxide to produce approximately 8 kilograms of algal biomass per day. If the test is successful, the project could be expanded for feasibility and commercialization, Green Plains said in a statement.
"Algae production compliments ethanol production," said Wayne Hoovestol, chief executive of Green Plains. "The algae project involves recycling heat and water, while mitigating carbon dioxide. Additionally, there is strong evidence to suggest that Iowa has ideal environmental conditions for commercial algae production."
GreenFuel said oil yields from algae are estimated at several thousand gallons per acre, while oil yields from soybeans are approximately 65 gallons per acre.
"GreenFuel Technology has run several projects at major power plants in the United States," said Cary Bullock, vice-president of Business Development for GreenFuel Technology. "However, we are especially excited about the Green Plains project because of the natural synergies between the algae and ethanol industries. The Green Plains project provides an opportunity to use an operational ethanol plant to further the body of knowledge of algae-based biofuels."