April 7, 2008

Farming Algae for Fast-Growing Fuel Source

A Texas plant scientist and entrepreneur thinks the microscopic algae plant, aka pond scum, could be the next big thing in the energy sector. About 50 percent of an algae plant is oil that could be used to create biodiesel to fuel vehicles.

Glen Kertz's innovation is a patented system called "Vertigro," in which algae is cultivated in long rows of vertically hanging, movable plastic bags. This system optimizes surface area for growth, yielding 100,000 gallons of oil per year per acre.

Kertz says that cultivating algae is another way to derive useful energy from solar power, and that his solution could help deal with global warming. Algae plants are among the world's fastest-growing plant species.

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