Algae biofuel startups: eat carbon, harness solar energy, create biofuels

October 29 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2013   Rating: 2

Which companies might shape the future of energy? How about alternative energy start ups that look to the past on ways to ‘grow energy’ using carbon as a feedstock.

The World’s Energy Resources are based on Biology
Our modern world is powered by the energy released from breaking chemical bonds of carbon and hydrogen that were assembled by ancient plants and microbes. Today we blow up coal inside large power plants to produce electricity, and combust oil inside vehicles. Coal is ancient plant material, oil is ancient microbes that lived in shallow oceans.

Rather than extract these ancient forms of bioenergy, it is possible to ‘grow’ energy above ground by tapping the power of algae and bacteria that use sunlight to bind carbon (from air/coal plants) with hydrogen from water.

Leading Algae startups ride beginning wave of hype cycle
In recent months the idea of plant-based biofuels (corn, soy) has been overshadowed by something more promising- algae. Algae ‘eat’ carbon to produce liquid biofuels that have the same complex carbon-hydrogen chains found inside the Earth. They can do so quickly and in enormous volumes (30-50x more than plant based per acre/hectare) We must now overcome the technical challenges of scaling up algae production facilities to make these biofuels and biomaterial feedstocks cost competitive with traditional hydrocarbons.

We are now starting to see more extensive media coverage as investors and governments pour hundreds of millions of dollars into algae biofuel startups.

Here is the most comprehensive list of algae biofuel companies on the web:

AlgaeLink (Netherlands)
Algaecake Technologies Corp
Algenol (Florida)
Amyris Biotech
Aquatic Energy (Lake Charles, LA)
Aurora BioFuels, Inc Northern California
AquaFlow (New Zealand) open pond, wild algae
BioAlgene LLC, WA)
Bionavitas, Inc. Bringing Photons to (Redmond, WA)
Bio Fuels Solution (Spain)
Blue Marble Energy (Seattle, WA)
Bodega Algae, LLC, proprietary lighting technology for photobioreactors

Canadian Pacific Algae (Vancouver)
Cellan – partnership with Shell
Cequestra Algae
CircleBio (San Diego, CA)
Dynamic Biogenics
HRBiopetroluem (Hawaii)
Imperium Renewables (Seattle, WA)
GreenFuel (Cambridge, MA)
Green Star Products, Inc. (California)
Heliae Development link
International Energy Inc (Canada)
Inventure (Gig Harbor, WA)
LiveFuels (San Carlos, CA/National alliance)
LS9 synthetic bioenergy solutions (California)
Northington Energy (Wyoming) Origin Oil – putting lights inside tank;

PetroAlgae / XL TechGroup Melbourne, FL
PetroSun (Scottsdale, Arizona) open pond plant in Texas and plans for China based production
PurePower Energy (Singapore)
Sapphire Energy high-octane gasoline using sunlight, carbon dioxide, and algae.
Seambiotic utilizing flue gas from coal burning power stations for algae cultivation (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Solazyme A synthetic biology company working in the algal biodiesel, industrial chemical, and specialty ingredient markets
Sunrise Ridge (Texas)
Solix (Fort Collins, CO)
Solena Group biomass energy solutions company via plasma and algae (Washington DC/Spain)
Synthetic Genomics – founded by Craig Venter (LaJolla, CA)
Renewable Energy Group (Ames, IA)
Valcent / Vertigo – high density vertical grow systems
XL Renewables (Phoenix, AZ)

Other algae biodiesel resources
National Algae Association (The Woodlands / Houston, Texas)
How Stuff Works
Algal Biomass Association
The National Bioenergy Center
European Algae Association
University of New Hampshire Group
Soley Institute

Related posts from The Energy
Investors betting on biological future for biofuels – We can ‘grow’ energy!
‘Growing Energy’ TED Talk by Juan Enriquez
Steve Jurvetson -Biology and Energy are Converging & Accelerating
US shifting from corn to cellulosic ethanol

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