Proterro, one of the leaders in biofuel production, has developed a method to make the precious energy resource without the need of excessive energy or water use, by producing the single sugar sucrose from cyanobacteria.
These bacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are grown in a photobioreactor, patented by the makers, which cuts down the production cost significantly.
The secret behind this photobioreactor prototype is hidden in the way it operates. The makers, Proterro, bet on a new technology that does not extract complex sugars or hydrocarbons, but rather produces sucrose thanks to the vertical arrangement of thin composite fabric. This is used to grow the cyanobacteria with a much lower requirement for water, making it different from any other conventional algae farming technology.
The system is very unique. It has a much lower footprint, because it requires less energy, and uses much less water, which does not limited it to a specific location. Gravity helps the produced sucrose to be collected. What makes it even more affordable, is the use of cheap polyethylene for the construction of the cylindrical shell of the photobioreactor.
Currently, the company has a reactor ready to be tested with a plan to build a demonstration plant in Florida. If this all works, suddenly deniers of biofuel production will have something to reconsider.