That sounds about right: Algae-energy research is bubbling with new ideas and talent and is beginning to get backing from venture capital. "In the past the money in this area went only to academics," says Matt Caspari, CEO of Aurora BioFuels in Alameda, Calif. "Now it's reaching entrepreneurs who are applying technologies that didn't exist ten or 15 years ago."
Two-year-old Aurora is developing biodiesel from oil-rich algae cultivated in labs at the University of California at Berkeley. Solazyme, a South San Francisco biotech, is working to develop algae that produce more gallons of biodiesel per acre. And several players, including Kent SeaTech (San Diego), A2BE Carbon Capture (Boulder), and LiveFuels (Menlo Park, Calif.), plan to combine aquaculture with algae farms.
The article also noted: A 2004 analysis at the University of New Hampshire concluded that all the transportation fuels in the United States could be supplied by algae grown on less than 30 million acres of desert - an area equal to about 3% of the U.S. land devoted to farming crops and grazing for animals.
Because of its scope, the article did not discuss Coskata.