The grand opening of BioProcess Algae LLC’s Phase 2 Grower Harvester Bioreactor Project occurred last Friday, with major agricultural leaders in attendance, including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The algae project is a collaborative effort of CLARICOR Inc., a global filtration company, BioProcess H2O LLC, a water purification company, and Green Plains Renewable Energy, a major ethanol producer with plants across the Midwest.
The algae project, physically located in a Green Plains ethanol plant in Iowa, takes waste water, waste heat, and CO2 from its ethanol production process, and uses it to produce algae. Researchers believe that the algae produced can be used for animal feed, cosmetics, and further green energy and biofuel applications.
The opening of the algae project comes at a critical time for Vilsack and American farmers. The debate over ethanol use and federal farm spending has been heating up in recent months. Efforts to reduce the budget deficit have led to calls to reduce farm spending, and politicians like Vilsack and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow have been vocal about protecting farm spending, particularly ethanol subsidies in the future Farm Bill.
In a speech at the algae plant, Vilsack repeated his insistence on the importance of biolfuels. Linking economic recovery to agricultural investment, Vilsack pointed out that this plant, and other that could be built, generate much needed jobs. In addition, the decreased need for foreign oil would help lower farm costs and could help the national economy recover from the 2008 recession. This algae project, Vilsack argued, represents a major step forward in the viability of ethanol nationwide.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer