Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Biofuels innovation in Indian country

Read Kirk Johnson's story in the New York Times, "A New Test for Business and Biofuel." The dateline is Ignacio, Colorado, population 669, and the Southern Utes are the Indian tribe involved in this cutting edge endeavor.
With the twin goals of making fuel from algae and reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, a start-up company co-founded by a Colorado State University professor recently introduced a strain of algae that loves carbon dioxide into a water tank next to a natural gas processing plant.

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The Southern Utes, one of the nation’s wealthiest American Indian communities thanks to its energy and real-estate investments, is a major investor in the professor’s company. It hopes to gain a toehold in what tribal leaders believe could be the next billion-dollar energy boom.

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“It’s a marriage of an older way of thinking into a modern time,” said the tribe’s chairman, Matthew J. Box, referring to the interplay of environmental consciousness and investment opportunity around algae.

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