• 08.14.09

Go Fish: Startup Makes Algae-Based Fish Oil Into Biofuel

Fish plus algae equals oil says a new startup called LiveFuels, the latest algae-based biofuel gambit that’s as controversial as it is intriguing.


Gruesome? Yes, but there are a number of advantages to this approach. LiveFuels won’t have to extract algae from water (an energy-intensive task), build bioreactors, or make carbon dioxide bubblers to turn algae into oil. Instead, the fish are left with the task of making the oil and storing it in their organs. The process is completely carbon neutral since the algae suck up carbon from the water, and phosphate from leftover fish bones can be used for fertilizer.


There are also some downsides–not the least of which involves animal-rights advocates chasing down LiveFuels. The fish-extraction process needs more algae than if LiveFuels harvested the algae directly. And, as Treehugger points out, doesn’t this require starting up a new factory-farm industry?

Regardless, LiveFuels is testing its process at nine ponds in Brownsville, Texas. If all goes as planned, the company will cart fish to algae blooms in the ocean, where they will be given free rein to produce liquid energy for our cars, buses, and trucks.

[Via Greentech Media]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.