And then there were five... Indian Oil Corporation has become the fifth major oil company to stake a claim in the world of algae biofuels. IOCL has a signed a memorandum of understanding with Florida-based PetroAlgae to license micro-crop technologies for "future large-scale production of renewable fuels."In announcing the deal, IndianOil says it will collaborate with PetroAlgae on developing algal strains that will best suit Indian conditions. Afterwards, a pilot facility to demonstrate the commercial viability of this technology will be developed.
As for when this commercial viability may come, there is no word beyond a 60 Mgy facility proposed for the "near future", which will also generate "high-value protein that can be used for animal feed production."
Drop-In Replacement for Petroleum-Based Fuels
Like the other algae partnerships being pursued by big oil, the fuel to be produced under this agreement will be a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based fuels -- meaning it can be shipped, stored, distributed and used in the existing fuel infrastructure.
For the record, those other four oil companies betting on algae are: ExxonMobil/Synthetic Genomics; Shell/Cellana; BP/Martek; and, Chevron/Solazyme.
As Biofuels Digest points out, IndianOil now has the distinction of being the first national oil company to form an algae biofuels partnership.
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