August 7, 2009

Plankton Power To Build Algae-To-Biofuel Facility on Cape Cod

Massachusetts-based Plankton Power and the not-for-profit business incubator Regional Technology Development Corp. (RTDC) of Cape Cod announced the establishment of a public-private consortium to build a facility to produce renewable biofuels from algae.

The new facility, called the Cape Cod Algae Biorefinery, will focus on pilot- and commercial-scale development of biodiesel derived from algae.

The planned biorefinery is proposed for construction on five acres of land on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) in Bourne, Massachusetts, supported by the Massachusetts National Guard pending legal and regulatory reviews.

The biodiesel from Plankton Power algae is said to be a "drop-in" replacement for home heating oil and petroleum diesel and will be produced for commercial distribution. The Cape Cod Algae Biorefinery Consortium recently submitted a $20 million proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy that would leverage $4 million in private funding to construct the proposed facility.

Beginning in autumn 2010, Plankton Power said it expects to initiate pilot-scale operations to generate up to one million gallons of biodiesel per year-enough fuel to supply Cape Cod's current biodiesel usage. The company projects that commercial-scale operations on 100 acres could eventually yield 100 million gallons of biodiesel, which would meet 5% of the demand for diesel and home heating fuel in the state of Massachusetts.

The facility will be established under the leadership of Plankton Power, and the RTDC, Massachusetts National Guard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and Cape Cod Commission will collaborate. MassDevelopment, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Loud Fuel Company are also supporting the initiative, according to a release.

"The MMR location is ideal for this pilot project--the on-site wastewater treatment plant would provide an excellent source of nutrients for the algae, and MMR's location close to the Cape Cod Canal would provide a convenient source of seawater as well as a renewable thermal energy source for algae growth and temperature control," Curtis S. Felix, CEO and Founder of Plankton Power, said.


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