Community Fuels Wins DOE Grant for Research on Algae to Biodiesel

Community Fuels has been awarded a 2007 Phase I Research Grant from the Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program to evaluate two processes to use agricultural waste as a resource for commercial-scale algal oils development and production into biodiesel.

Community Fuels anticipates that the sponsored research project, called Efficient Processing of Algal Bio-Oils for Biodiesel Production, will help resolve obstacles to the feasibility of large-scale production of biodiesel using algae as a feedstock.

The most important aspect of sustainable biodiesel growth is the development of appropriate regional feedstocks. Algae have long been considered a potential source of bio-oils suitable for biodiesel feedstock due to their rapid growth rates relative to traditional oil-seed plants and due to their lack of direct competition with food crops.

Community Fuels, in collaboration with the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute of the University of Hawaii, will investigate the use of agricultural waste products to grow specific algae species and develop methods for processing algal biomass that can be cost-effectively applied to commercial-scale biodiesel production. The results of this research will potentially unlock a new source of low-cost feedstock that can be widely used by the rapidly growing biodiesel industry.

“Biodiesel production and use is limited by cost and availability of feedstocks such as vegetable oils and animal fats,” said Lisa Mortenson, CEO of Community Fuels. “Only by supplementing our current feedstocks with alternative oil sources, such as algae, will we be able to replace a significant portion of our diesel dependency with clean burning biodiesel.”