Andres Clarens

Making biofuels out of algae has always sounded like a promising idea. In theory, at least, you could create a green alternative to gasoline without any of the drawbacks of corn- or soy-based ethanol (spikes in food prices, increased deforestation, etc.). ExxonMobil's already sinking $600 million into R&D, and a lot of the $80 million that the Energy Department just handed out for biofuels research went toward algae-related projects. Trouble is, there are still kinks to work out.

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