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The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Biomass Program will host a webinar entitled "The Promise and Challenge of Algae as a Renewable Source of Biofuels" later today (2-4:30 p.m. EDT). This online conference marks the beginning of the DOE's series of webinars that will focus on the development of renewable fuels, power and products from biomass resources.

Melbourne, FL-based PetroAlgae has filed an S-1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the hopes of raising $200 million from an initial public offering. Unfortunately, despite the promise that algae shows as a feedstock for biofuels, PetroAlgae doesn't appear to have much to offer.

Back in the early days of mass-produced biofuels, corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel were all the rage. But criticism about food vs. fuel and scalability abounded and, by 2008, cellulosic ethanol became known as a so-called second-generation-biofuel and, maybe, the answer to our oil-addicted prayers. Blame Congress, blame the economy, heck, blame T. Boone Pickens if you want to, but the fact of the matter is that in the two years since cellulosic ethanol's big appearance, large-scale pro

We never really knew that plants sweat. Nor were we aware that when some of them sweat, it's good ole biodiesel pouring out. If that's the case, then let's turn up the heat and get rewarded with all the fuel we will ever need. A little-known American company called Joule Unlimited claims that perspiration from a new type of gene-altered single cell organism actually contains usable biodiesel fuel. To prove its case, Joule will open a test pilot plant in Texas, a region capable of making anything

Researchers in Spain have demonstrated that they can transform fungus directly into commercial-grade biodiesel.Through a process we admittedly don't pretend to completely understand, the fungus mucor circinelloides is made into ASTM-D6751-spec biodiesel without first having its oils extracted, a process called direct transesterification. For all you home-brew folks, or for those familiar with the process of good, old-fashioned transesterification, this all sounds pretty cool.

Over the last several years, algae has been seen as the great green hope to make biofuels a truly viable option that wouldn't affect food supplies. In part, this is because algae has the potential to yield up to 100 times as much fuel per acre as soy or corn feedstocks. Unfortunately, progress been slow so far, and a new study by Andres Clarens of the University of Virginia indicates making algae requires much more energy to produce than crops.

One of the most promising biofuel feedstocks in recent years has been algae. Algae is high in oil content, potentially providing much higher yields of fuel than any other current crop - as much as 100 times more than soy, for example. Researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno have been testing a pair of outdoor algae ponds to evaluate the viability of growing fuel algae in the region. The first phase was a success with algae growing in a pair of 5,000 gallon ponds even with overnight temperat

One of the more promising sources of biofuels in recent years has been algae. While there are a number of small scale tests along with some larger scale commercialization projects, the UK's Carbon Trust wants to accelerate the process. The Trust has launched an Algae Biodiesel Challenge with goal of making algae-sourced liquid fuels commercially viable by 2020. The first phase of the £30 million project will focus on research and development including finding the best strains of algae, yie

It's not all li-ion battery tech that the federal government is givng support to these days; biofuels are getting some tax dollars as well. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that six biofuel projects at universities around the U.S. will be getting up to $4.4 million in funding. The good news is that the money is for work in non-food cellulosic ethanol research. Full details are available after the jump, but here are some snippets:

Bio-powered flight is not the exclusive dream of San Francisco startup Solazyme. There have bee recent bio-flight advancements from Virgin Airlines, which flew from London to Amsterdam using biofuel in February, and the BioJet I. But Solazyme announced it has reached a small milestone that could make greener flying easier for everyone: it has created jet fuel from algae.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a "novel technology" that uses "commercially advantageous" strains of algae to make biofuels. While work on algae and biofuels is taking place around the world, UW might be on to something here, at least if we trust the investment firm Allied Minds. Allied Minds announced yesterday that it will create a new company, AXI, LLC, with the school to commercialize these strains and make biofuel with them.

Inventure Chemical and Seambiotic have announced a joint venture to create a pilot commercial plant which will use algae to produce an array of chemicals and biofuels. The plant uses CO2 as feedstock for the algae. Inventure Chemicals comes into the partnership with knowledge about second-generation biofuel manufacturing, as it has facilities in operation in Seattle, and Seambiotic brings its newly developed strains of microalgae.

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