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San Diego Region Sets Sights on Development of Algae-Based Biofuels

May 04, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA --- San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders on April 28 joined University of California-San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, local scientists and industry leaders to announce their support for a regional partnership designed to develop ways to turn algae into biofuels. 

Speaking at the UC San Diego campus, Mayor Sanders and others said the San Diego region could become a major center for renewable energy development, as scientists from UC San Diego, the Scripps Research Institute and other local research institutions join with their industry counterparts in a broad-scale research effort to develop advanced transportation fuels from algae. 

These scientists recently established the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, or "SD-CAB." The primary goal of the center is to create a national facility capable of developing and implementing innovative research solutions for the commercialization of fuel production from algae. 

"By sharing and facilitating the interactions of these multiple researchers through this center, we hope to make sustainable algae-based fuel production and carbon dioxide abatement a reality within the next five to ten years," said Fox. "This consortium will strengthen our ability to obtain grants and attract resources to the area. Algal biofuels will allow us to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and other economies, and will provide opportunities for a new economy and workforce." 

"San Diego has a unique combination of life science research institutions, biotechnology companies and venture capital support to lead the nation in the development of this environmentally friendly source of transportation fuel," said Mayor Sanders. "As the algal biofuel industry develops, we are confident that San Diego will become a major center for renewable energy development." 

Research on algal biofuels now employs 272 scientists and other workers in San Diego and provides nearly $16.5 million in payroll and $33 million in economic activity for the region, according to an economic assessment completed last month by the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, Service Bureau. 

Direct spending on algal biofuels, combined with the additional jobs and spending in related service industries this spending generates, is currently responsible for 513 jobs, $25.4 million in wages and $63.5 million in economic output in the San Diego region, according to the SANDAG study.


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