The algae biofuel company OriginOil is starting to rev into commercial production and that could mean good news for green jobs in the U.S. – and good news for the U.S. Navy, too. The latest step is a new partnership with algae grower Aquaviridis to introduce OriginOil’s high tech algae oil extraction system to a facility in Mexicali, Mexico. If the R&D phase is a success, next up would be a network of algae farms in the southwestern U.S. as well as additional sites in Mexico.
Why the Navy Hearts Algae Biofuel
Before we get into the green jobs angle, let’s check out the connection between the U.S. Navy and algae biofuels. The Navy has been transitioning to domestic, renewable energy sources including solar installations at its bases, biofuels for its ships (including chicken fat biofuel, of all things), and jet biofuel for its aircraft. That’s all well and good, but the key factor is boosting production to keep up with demand.
More Algae Biofuel for the U.S. Navy
To help get things going on the supply side, the Navy is coordinating its biofuel program with NATO fuel standards. That means a big boost for the global biofuel market, and it’s already paying off; late last year, OriginOil announced a multinational venture to develop biofuel refineries engineered specifically to meet the NATO standards. The company has already started shaping up a commercial-scale algae biofuel operation in Australia in partnership with MBD Energy.
Green Jobs from Algae Biofuel
Aside from creating green jobs through new algae farms and new algae biofuel facilities, OriginOil’s venture could help preserve existing refinery jobs in the U.S. Last month, the company announced that a drop-in algae biofuel can directly replace petroleum feedstock at refinery operations. As a bonus job creation opportunity, “spent” algae from algae farms can also be processed into a cattle feed supplement.
Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
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