From: Reuters
Published March 13, 2008 07:14 PM

Galp launches plan to make diesel from algae

LISBON (Reuters) - Oil company Galp entered into an agreement on Thursday with the Portuguese Engineering, Technology and Innovation Institute in order to research and produce biofuel from algae.

Galp said the venture would establish a pilot plant at its refinery in the coastal town of Sines, where it would produce microalgae-based biomass and vegetable oil using combustion gases captured at the refinery.

Algae has been identified by scientists as a potentially far more efficient source of biodiesel than land crops. Its production into fuel could address the problems associated with crops for biodiesel, which require land that could be used for food crops.

"The project will attract the participation of internationally renowned scientists and may lead to the establishment of a cluster for the production of sustainable biofuel on internationally competitive terms," Galp said in a statement.

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It said the project should give Galp a "front-running" position in the commercial exploitation of a new source of renewable energy. Algae can grow in waste or sea water.

Using algae to produce diesel has attracted attention from several companies. In December Royal Dutch Shell Plc announced a plan to produce diesel from algae.

(Reporting by Axel Bugge; editing by Rory Channing)

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