Commercial scale production of ethanol or bioethanol from algae whether from processing harvested algae or in a bioreactor environment is becoming a reality.[ad#336x280]
Producing ethanol from algae has many upsides. First and foremost the processes being used by some companies do not require fresh water, a major drawback, especially in areas with arid climates. There is also no need to harvest algae. Instead, during the process, algae consumes sunlight and more than 90 percent of the system’s CO2 through photosynthesis, wherein the sugars are converted into ethanol. The ethanol is immediately pumped out and evaporates into the bioreactor which is captured every night.
While the technology is still in it’s infancy Naples, Fla.-based Algenol Biofuels is already producing algae ethanol at a production facility in Mexico and has an agreement in place with the Mexican Government to start selling their algae bioethanol this year (2009).