PetroSun Drilling, an emerging provider of oilfield services to major and independent producers of oil and natural gas, has formed Algae BioFuels Inc. as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Algae BioFuels will engage in the research and development of algae cultivation as an feedstock in the production of biodiesel. The R&D and production facilities for Algae BioFuels will be based in Arizona and Australia.
Research is currently being conducted to determine the utilization of microalgae in fuel production, with applications being developed for biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, methane and even hydrogen. Independent studies have demonstrated that algae is capable of producing 30 times more oil per acre than the current crops now utilized for the production of biofuels. Algae biofuel contains no sulfur, is non-toxic and highly biodegradable.
The Office of Fuels Development, a division of the Department of Energy, funded a program from 1978 through 1996 under the National Renewable Energy Laboratory known as the Aquatic Species Program. The focus of this program was to investigate high-oil algae that could be grown specifically for the purpose of wide-scale biodiesel production. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content, in excess of 50%, and extremely rapid growth rates.
PetroSun’s formation of Algae BioFuels is a forward-looking strategy. The opportunity to produce a renewable energy product that will assist in providing a healthier planet for future generations cannot be ignored.—L. Rayfield Wright, president of PetroSun
PetroSun’s current operations are concentrated in the Ark-La-Tex region with plans to expand into New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Australia in 2006. PetroSun provides a comprehensive array of products and services to the oil industry.
A Look Back at the US Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program: Biodiesel from Algae (NREL Close-out Report, 1998)