Mexico aims to become the top biofuel-producing nation by 2020. (Photo: OriginOil/CICESE/FIS)
Govt hires OriginOil to produce algae-based jet fuel
Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
The Mexican Government has hired Los Angeles, California-based OriginOil to produce 1 per cent of its jet fuel using algae in the next five years in a scheme called Mexico's Manhattan Project. By 2020, the project aims to generate 20 times that amount and turn Mexico into the top biofuel-producing nation.
OriginOil’s patent-pending technology concentrates on extraction and hopes to produce algae on a scale competitive with petroleum.
Genesis Ventures of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico will run the operations; Genesis acquired an Economy Ministry grant through the National Council for Science and Technology for a pilot location. The company will ask researchers from the University of Baja California to join forces in the project.
If the project is victorious, Mexico may invest in the production of large-scale jet fuels. OriginOil, thought of as a lead player in the algae biofuel industry, was triumphant in 2010 in an algae pilot project with Australia’s MBD Energy, reports Tree Hugger.
"Much of the world's oil and gas is made up of ancient algae deposits," OriginOil representatives pointed out. "Today, our technology will produce 'new oil' from algae, through a cost-effective, high-speed manufacturing process.”
“This endless supply of new oil can be used for many products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and solvents without the global warming effects of petroleum. Other oil producing feedstock such as corn and sugarcane often destroy vital farmlands and rainforests, disrupt global food supplies and create new environmental problems. Our unique technology, based on algae, is targeted at fundamentally changing our source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies," they expounded.
As well, OriginOil representatives claim that Ensenada provides a perfect environment for algae growth due to its copious sunlight and contact with sea water.
The Genesis site will be run by Ensenada's Centre for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE) - one of Mexico's most important research facilities. It offers a team of world-class researchers, up-to-date laboratory gear and bench-scale algae cultivation infrastructure.
"We intend to rely heavily on OriginOil's expertise in feeding and sanitizing algae cultures, and its core harvesting and extraction technology," said Eduardo Durazo Watanabe, president of Genesis. "Through our partner Jose Sanchez, we have a uniquely close association with OriginOil which will enable us to scale up production quickly."
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