Algal biofuel researchers have lost a decade's worth of work, says this post at Wired Science. In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter started the Aquatic Species Program that identified 51 algal strains as "potential high-value strains" but as funding dried up much of that knowledge, and even some of the strains, was lost. Recently, the article goes onto say, interest in algal biofuels has been piqued again, in part due to advances in genomics. "Despite the lost decade, algal oil makers are optimistic that they are about to ride a steep cost curve down to much, much cheaper biofuel," the post says. "As they apply new biological knowledge and optimize growing algae, the cost will drop. And as they capture economies of scale, the costs will drop again."
The Return of the Algae
Dec 31, 2009