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Sierra Club Praises Algal Farms Project of ODU and VCERC

The Sierra Club issued a statement Wednesday, Sept. 24, commending the pilot project in algae farming and biodiesel fuel production initiated by Old Dominion University, the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC) and the private Algal Farms Inc.

The statement's release coincided with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in which Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine joined with ODU acting President John Broderick and other dignitaries to formally open the first 1-acre algae pond on the 240-acre Algal Farms tract in Prince George County.

Here are excerpts from the statement:

The Sierra Club commends Gov. Tim Kaine, Sen. Frederick Quayle, Delegate Riley Ingram and Old Dominion University for supporting the development of an innovative algae to biodiesel pilot project in Spring Grove, Virginia. Development of cutting edge renewable energy technologies and implementation of proven efficiency and renewable strategies are critically important in addressing the challenges of global climate change.

The Commonwealth should continue to coordinate with institutions of higher learning to advance research and development of alternative energies like algae-based synthetic fuel and offshore wind power. It should be recognized that aqua cultures at Algal Farms produce significantly higher yields of fuel on less land compared to agriculture-based fuels reliant on corn or other cellulosic crops. Also, excess nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon dioxide from wastewater treatment facilities and industries can be used to feed algae, which should be seen as a benign and cost-effective form of recycling and reducing the effects of pollutants otherwise discharged into the environment.

Combined with energy efficiencies and conservation measures, algae-based synthetic fuel has the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to a stronger economy, create thousands of new jobs and reduce environmental damage and harm to human health.

This article was posted on: September 25, 2008

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