ST. CLOUD, Minn. - 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.
There is no singular way to turn algae into fuel yet but Rosenthal says as the technologies get better it could become streamlined. One of the strongest arguments for algae biofuel is that it can be grown in any region and in most bodies of water.
In addition to fuel the protein and carbohydrates in algae can also be used or food, animal feed, health supplements even pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Researchers say all those opportunities make it one promising plant.
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