Algae company gets boost from EPA 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

U.S. EPA has determined that ethanol derived from algae at a company in Florida qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the federal renewable fuel standard.

The agency last month approved an application by the company Algenol LLC to market its fuel, which it makes by pumping carbon dioxide into hanging bags containing blue-green algae, as advanced biofuels.

According to the renewable fuel standard, a new renewable fuel qualifies as an advanced biofuel if it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent compared to a petroleum baseline. Algenol’s ethanol reduced emissions by 69 percent, according to EPA’s analysis.

EPA’s approval of the algae fuel means refiners can now use it to meet annual mandates under the renewable fuel standard. Algenol is trying to be the first algae company to commercially produce all four major fuel products: ethanol, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel (Greenwire, April 9, 2014).

“The EPA approval is a milestone event for Algenol,” said Paul Woods, founder and CEO of Algenol, in a statement today. “The EPA validates that our suite of fuels meet the GHG reduction requirements set by the EPA for advanced biofuels and allows blenders and refiners to use our fuels to meet their Clean Air Act obligations under the RFS.”

The company’s petition is one of 10 petitions approved by EPA since the agency altered its review process in a bid to speed up approvals. The agency, however, failed to set final 2014 volume targets for renewable fuels last year after a proposal to scale back the levels came under intense criticism by biofuels and oil interests (Greenwire, Nov. 21, 2014).