Screenshot from OriginOil video, embedded below
When you think Mexico, think biofuels (not just tequila). That's the message of OriginOil, a Los Angeles, California, company that's been contracted by the Mexican government to produce 1 percent of the nation's jet fuel using algae in the next five years. By the end of the decade, the project aims to produce 20 times that amount, and propel Mexico to the front of biofuel producing nations. They're calling it Mexico's Manhattan Project.
OriginOil has developed a patent-pending technology that focuses on extraction to address a bottleneck in commercial algae production. The hope is to make algae competitive with petroleum.
The project will be operated by Genesis Ventures of Ensenada, Baja California (in Mexico), which has received an Economy Ministry grant through The National Council for Science and Technology for a pilot site. Genesis will invite University of Baja California algae researchers to collaborate in the project.
What's significant here is a move to demonstrate industrial algae production. If it succeeds, Mexico may invest in large-scale jet fuels production. OriginOil is seen as a leader in the algae biofuel industry, and had success last year in an algae pilot project with MBD Energy of Australia.
"Much of the world's oil and gas is made up of ancient algae deposits," OriginOil reps explain.
"Today, our technology will produce 'new oil' from algae, through a cost-effective, high-speed manufacturing process. This endless supply of new oil can be used for many products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and solvents without the global warming effects of petroleum.
"Other oil producing feedstock such as corn and sugarcane often destroy vital farmlands and rainforests, disrupt global food supplies and create new environmental problems. Our unique technology, based on algae, is targeted at fundamentally changing our source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies."
OriginOil reps say Ensenada is a perfect environment for algae growth, with abundant sunlight and access to seawater.
Are they making amazing claims? Yes. That's where the (atomic, popular culture) reference to the Manhattan Project comes in. The Genesis site will be operated by Ensenada's Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education, billed as one of Mexico's most important research centers.