Seattle-based biofuel company one step closer to creating algae-based fuels

In the energy business, money is everything. Thanks to a capital infusion from green investment firm Avista Development, Inc., a new biotech company from Seattle, Washington, is able to continue its work on finding a viable solution to the national need for clean and renewable energy.

Margaret McCormick, the CEO of Matrix Genetics, recently spoke with green industry news source EarthFix about the latest developments and the company's work on producing a viable form of biofuel. Her organization, according to the source, has been investigating the best ways of creating cyanobacteria specimens that are capable of releasing oil-rich lipids. The secret, McCormick says, is to bioengineer the organisms to gain lots of weight.

"You can see it's a very pretty green color so our scientists love to work with it because it’s a lot more pleasant than other types of bacteria that we work with," she told the source, in reference to a beaker filled with algae placed inside a vibration machine.

Currently, according to EarthFix, researchers for Matrix Genetics are trying to come up with a standardized method for producing oil-rich algae. The team's long-term goal is to pair cyanobacteria breeding facilities with a carbon dioxide-emitting power plant. By doing so, the organisms can absorb the emissions and put them to good use.

Ralph Cavalieri, a green tech specialist for Washington State University, told the source that "costs will come down, the efficiencies will steadily go up and we’ll end up not paying any more than petroleum, for example."

Though this project is still several years away from full production, the exciting results discovered thus far suggest that this technology could one day be an important part of the low-impact economy of the future.

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