09 Apr 2012:
Algae Biofuel Startup
Is Expanding Operations in New Mexico
A U.S. startup says it has raised enough funding to significantly expand what it calls the world’s first commercial-scale algae biofuel farm
, a 300-acre project its developers say could produce 1.5 million gallons of algae-based crude oil by 2014. Sapphire Energy, which so far has received more than $300 million
— including U.S. government funding — to develop its technology, has already begun building the plant in New Mexico. While many consider algae-based oil a promising fuel alternative since it can produce large amounts of oil without consuming fresh water supplies or farmland, the technology has not been shown to work on a commercial scale because of costs. Sapphire Energy hopes that by reducing the production costs at every stage of the process — from construction of the algae ponds to harvesting — it will be able to produce a product that’s competitive with oil priced at $85 per barrel within six years. Recent studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the larger-scale production of algae-based diesel through scaled-up versions of existing technology would cost several times more than conventional diesel.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.