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Algenol Biofuels Inc.
Industry Biofuels
Founder Paul Woods, Craig Smith, Ed Legere, Alejandro Gonzalez
Headquarters Fort Myers, Florida
Revenue US$ 3.1 million[1]
Number of employees
Slogan Harness the Sun to Fuel the World

Algenol, founded in 2006, headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, Algenol is an industrial biotechnology company that is commercializing patented algae technology for production of ethanol and other fuels. The technology enables the production of the four most important fuels (ethanol, gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel) using proprietary algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and salt water.


In 2008 the company announced it would begin commercial production of Ethanol by 2009 in the Sonoran Desert in northwest Mexico. This seems not to have happened though and as of 2015 they are still not in commercial production. [2] In October 2015 Paul Woods, the founder, resigned and the company announced they were laying off 25% of the staff and changing to a “water treatment and carbon capture now, and maybe fuels later” focus. [3]


Algenol’s technology potentially allows production of the four most important fuels (ethanol, gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel) for around $1.27 per gallon each at production levels of 8,000 total gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year, but to date has not been successfully implemented in commercial production. Potentially the fuel would be produced with a 60% reduction in carbon footprint and could offer customers savings of 75 cents a gallon. The technology could produce high yields and relies on patented photobioreactors and proprietary downstream techniques for low-cost fuel production. These low-cost techniques consume carbon dioxide from industrial sources, do not use farmland or food crops, and provide fresh water. [4]

Their technology uses sunlight, algae, non-arable land and carbon dioxide to produce ethanol and the leftover spent algae that can be converted into other biofuels. The technology uses blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria) to change CO2 and seawater into sugars and then into ethanol and biomass.[5] The process is the only one that can convert more than 85% of its CO2 feedstock into the four fuels.[6][not in citation given]

Algenol’s algae are non-invasive in natural habitats and the company has tested the algae repeatedly to ensure it is non-toxic, non-invasive, and are not plant pests[7]

Finally, On one wet acre of algae, Algenol could potentially produce approximately 8,000 gallons of liquid fuels. Most of the fuel produced is ethanol with approximately 500 gallons diesel, 380 gallons of gasoline, and 315 gallons of jet fuel. Overall, this means a potential net production of around 8,000 gallons of fuel on one acre of land, while corn ethanol reliably produces approximately 420 gallons of fuel per acre/per year.[5][8][9]


Algenol's newest facility is located in Southwest Florida, just north of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, and opened in October 2010. The new commercial development facility is working to create a commercially viable fuel from algae.[10] The site features research labs including engineering facilities, advanced molecular biology, CO2 management, separations, and green chemistry advanced labs and an outdoor process development production unit on 40 acres.[11] It is to cover 43,000sqft and to include 40 acres (160,000 m2) of photobioreactors[12] In October 2011, Algenol began construction on a pilot-scale Integrated Biorefinery, allowing the company to work with algae from a single strain in the lab all the way to commercial-scale production. The Integrated Biorefinery demonstrates the commercial viability of the technology.[13]

Algenol also has subsidiaries located in Berlin, Germany and Zug, Switzerland.[13]


By the end of 2014 Algenol will have announced the location of its first 2,000 acre commercial production site in the state of Florida. Algenol also licenses the DIRECT TO ETHANOL® technology.[14] One of these licenses is with BioFields S.A.P.I. de C.V. in Mexico. BioFields has access to over 42,000 acres of non-arable land in the Sonoran desert in Mexico.[15][16] The area is close to waters for transportation and growing ethanol markets in South America.[17] Another large partner of Algenol's is Reliance Industries Ltd. based in Mumbai India. Finally, Algenol has stated that they are discussing commercial "Direct to Ethanol" projects with several partners in the United States, South America, Israel, and Africa.[17]


Algenol has a number of partners. Partners include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, BioFields, Membrane Technology and Research, and Reliance Holdings USA, Inc. Algenol also is partnered with Lee County, Florida and the U.S. Department of Energy along with Universities including Florida Gulf Coast University, Georgia Tech, and Humboldt University of Berlin.[18]

Grants awarded[edit]

In December 2009, Algenol received a $25m United States Department of Energy grant to help build the Integrated Biorefinery Direct to Ethanol project in Lee County, Florida.[19] Algenol also received a $10m grant from Lee County to employ people in Lee County and also build the Integrated Biorefinery Direct to Ethanol project. [20]


  1. ^ "Algenol Biofuels Inc. | Company profile from Hoover's". Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
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  4. ^ [1] Archived January 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
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  10. ^ "Algenol to change SW Fla., the world". 
  11. ^ "Impending verdict on Algenol's biofuel production utility". Biofuels International, February 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Algenol Partners With Lee County as Commission Votes to Approve Incentive Funding for Florida-Based". 
  13. ^ a b
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  17. ^ a b
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  20. ^ "US Names Biofuel Projects". CNN. 

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