Although the algae biofuel industry is still relatively young, a few companies have established themselves as market leaders. One of these, Arizona-based Petrosun, has recently taken a noticeable step - announcing an international venture to establish an algae farm in China. The company says it has an agreement with Jun Ya Yan Technology Development Co. of Shanghai which will commit $40 million to fund the Chinese farm. The profits of the joint venture will be split between PetroSun’s China subsidiary and Jun Ya Yan Tech.
In Texas, PetroSun is building 1,100 acres of ponds in its Rio Hondo location
to produce 4.4 million gallons of algae oil and 110 million pounds of biomass per year. Neither company has said where the China farm will be based, but let’s hope it doesn’t interfere with food production – a problem which already exists on Asian farmlands.
Algae fuel is higher yielding than biofuels based on corn and soybeans, though it will still take some time to bring costs down. PetroSun claims that algae is capable of producing in excess of 30 times more oil per acre than corn and soybean crops, that their biodiesel contains no sulfur, is highly biodgradable and is nontoxic.
Recently, according to GreenTechMedia, investment in algae fuel has been ratcheted up. In venture capital, algae-based biofuel companies have raised a record-breaking $179.5 million to date this year compared to $32 million last year.
written by Steve N. Lee, October 07, 2008
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