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Could algae be the next biofuel?

by Boua Xiong

Algae has been studied and experimented with for decades. Now St. Cloud State University is helping take it to the next level.

In 2010 students at St. Cloud partnered with Algaedyne, a Minnesota start-up company, to try and find the most efficient way to convert the small organisms into big sources of fuel. A variety of algae strains are grown in labs at St. Cloud and then oil is extracted and refined into biodiesel. So far, all experiments look promising.

"It's great stepping block for renewable resource for energy security," Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization, said.

Partnerships like St. Cloud and Algaedyne are vital, according to Rosenthal.

"We're going to hit an inflection point sometime between 2025 and 2030 where the fossil fuels today are going to be a depleted supply. So, we need resources like algae in order to create replacements for those fossil fuels," she said. 

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