WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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02:14 PM -- Micro-based Fuels
The committee returned from recess. Douglas Henston, Chief Executive Officer, Solix Biofuels, Inc., explained that Solix Biofuels, Inc. was started in 2006 to develop and commercialize large-scale production of algae-based biofuels and bio-based products. He compared the amount of biofuel obtained from algae on an acre of land in one year with other biofuel crops. For example, rapeseed produces approximately 110 to 145 gallons of fuel for each acre of land. He estimated that algae will produce between 7,000 to 10,000 gallons of fuel from an acre of land when the production process is fully developed. Mr. Henston explained that algae-based fuels can be produced in open ponds and in closed systems such as the one used by his company. The closed system is more productive, but more expensive to operate than algae produced in open ponds. He also described recent advancements in algae based fuel production that have reduced the cost of his product and increased its yields.
Mr. Henston explained how he plans to commercialize the production of algae-based fuels. He also described the Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility that is located on the Southern Ute tribal lands in southwest Colorado. The two-acre facility uses produced water and carbon dioxide from local gas wells. It is expected to produce 3,000 gallons of algal oil per acre, per year by late 2009. In addition to the Southern Ute Tribe, he explained that several major companies and research institutions have invested in Solix Biofuels, Inc., including Cargill, Valero, Cemex, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He also responded to questions from committee about the amount of water that is consumed by the algal oil production process and the cost of this fuel compared to petroleum fuels.