Biofuel derived from algae could replace 17% of the oil imported by the U.S., according to recent study by DoE's Pacific Northwest Laboratory. One advantage of algae is that it creates 80 times more oil per acre annually than corn, which makes it well-suited as a feedstock for biodiesel. Algae is also not a food crop, nor is it grown widely. That means production should not affect food supplies. Critics of the plan point out that it takes a lot of water to grow algae. But proponents say growing algae in the right locations could minimize water use The best places to grow the waterborne crop is in sunny, humid locations, such as the Gulf Coast, Southeastern Seaboard, and the Great Lakes regions. To widen the area in which algae can be farmed without affecting freshwater supplies, researchers are also looking into ways to grow it in saltwater and waste water.
Pacific Northwest Laboratory Company, www.pnl.gov