New Mexico State University researchers go swimming with the algae to find biodiesel

Ok, we know biofuels hold great promise to end our addiction to oil. And we know that finding the perfect biomass feedstock is a point of serious contention. To me, algae (not watermelon, it may surprise AutoblogGreen regulars) hold the greatest promise to make a lot of a biofuel cheaply. Of course, there are a lot of hurdles to jump before the little green things produce biodiesel in a commercially-viable way.

Enter the New Mexico State University and a team of researchers at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia. This team is working to find the best way to get single-cell, green algae to agree to become biodiesel. The Artesia center is working on generating the highest level of oil possible (far more than either corn or soybeans can produce, acre for acre). The Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management, based in Carlsbad, New Mexico, is leading the research. Officials from NMSU say that the school has a lot of things going for it to experiment with algae in biofuel production.

"We have sunlight and space, and we have a brackish and saline water supply," Steve Loring, assistant director of NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station, told the Las Cruces Sun-News. By March, Artesia should have a quarter-acre-sized pond to conduct larger tests in. And in 2008, a 100-acre test bed will be started.

[Source: Las Cruces Sun-News]

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