Dow Chemical is working with Algenol Biofuels to build an algae-to-ethanol demonstration plant at its Freeport, TX facility. Algenol, based in Naples, FL, uses CO2 from power plants to grow the algae it uses for fuel, and the new 24-acre facility will produce up to 100,000 gallons of ethanol annually, at a target price of $1 US per gallon. Dow is interested in using the company’s algal fuel as a plastic ingredient, replac ing natural gas. Unlike other algal fuel businesses, Algenol harvests the ethanol the algae produces rather than processing the organism itself into fuel.
Thanks to its deal with Dow, Algenol has reportedly raised $70 million to further grow its business, and may construct another facility, in partnership with a Mexican company, that will produce up to 1 billion gallons annually. (Source: Earth2Tech, June 29, 2009; New York Times, June 28, 2009)