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Algae Fuel’s Pioneers

Algenol Sapphire Solazyme Synthetic Genomics
HQ: Bonita Springs, Florida
CLAIM TO FAME: May 2010 joint venture with Valero, one of the largest U.S. oil refiners; partnership with Dow Chemical
METHOD: Growing algae inside “soda bottle” photobioreactors made of cheap plastic, which analyst Mark Bünger calls “an approach that makes a lot of sense.”
HQ: La Jolla, California
CLAIM TO FAME: Besides CJ Warner, boasts BP vet Dan Sajkowski as senior director of downstream technology and a board that includes former Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro and biotech VC David Shaw.
METHOD: Cultivating algae in open ponds, similar to swimming pools.
HQ: South San Francisco, California
CLAIM TO FAME: Biofuels Digest‘s No. 1 hottest company in bioenergy in 2009 — 2010. Already selling thousands of gallons of fuel to the U.S. Navy.
METHOD: Feeding sugar to its algae, which it grows in metal photobioreactors, like those used to brew beer.
HQ: La Jolla, California
CLAIM TO FAME: In July 2009, ExxonMobil announced a $600 million investment that helped put algae on the map. Headed by Human Genome Project’s Craig Venter.
METHOD: Investigating whether to raise algae in tubular photobioreactors or open ponds.

Read More: Former BP Exec Cynthia Warner Left Big Oil for Big Algae – And She’s Not AloneAK