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Biofuels Pilot Facility Opens In Southwest Colorado

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From a press release:

Gov. Bill Ritter today hailed the grand opening of the Coyote Gulch algae-to-biofuels pilot facility in southwest Colorado, a first-of-its-kind project by Solix Biofuels Inc. and Southern Ute Alternative Energy.

“Congratulations to Solix and the Southern Utes for this innovative addition to Colorado’s New Energy Economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “This project is an important step forward as Colorado continues to lead America and the world toward a new energy future. As a spinoff from Colorado State University, Solix is clearly demonstrating the potential of the New Energy Economy ecosystem, from spurring groundbreaking research to creating jobs to increasing our energy independence.”

The Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility is expected to produce the equivalent of 3,000 gallons per acre per year of algal oil by late 2009. The facility is located on two acres of Southern Ute tribal land. The company, which also operates in Fort Collins, has 50 employees, and about 10 of them will work full time at the Coyote Gulch plant.

“This facility illustrates why Colorado is leading the nation in the manufacturing, production and research of energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Gov. Ritter said. “It’s another example of how all of Colorado benefits when we work together – industry, government, universities and residents”

Founded in 2006, Solix develops low-cost scalable photo-bioreactors where algae grows inside plastic bags in place of open-pond conditions. The goal is to create a commercially viable biofuel that will help solve climate change and petroleum scarcity without competing with global food supply.

The link to Solix Biofuels has a little more description that I’d like to point out:

The Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility incorporates our AGSTM Technology with integrated propagation and extraction facilities. We are using waste water generated during coal-bed methane production in our photo-bioreactors thus reducing the need for fresh water. We are also recycling the CO2 produced by the amine plant by capturing and redirecting it through our AGSTM Technology to feed the microalgae. The amine plant is benefited by cost-effectively managing its excess waste water and reducing its CO2 emissions while at the same time producing biofuel on non-arable land.

One of the things I like about clean energy projects is they tend to work on land that isn’t being used for other purposes.  Even the placement of wind turbines tends to try to take into account how else the land could be used.  As an added bonus, this project isn’t placing additional demands on dwindling fresh water resources, though additional or larger projects may not be able to do the same; and they’re recycling CO2., something that dirty energy producers would like you to believe could happen … soon.  They just need a few more billions dollars in corporate welfare to prove they can.

Kudos to Solix Biofuels, Inc., Southern Ute Alternative Energy and Gov. Ritter’s Energy Office for another piece of good news on the energy front.

Cross-posted at SquareState.

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