SAN DIEGO, Sept. 17 (UPI) — San Diego-area officials say the idea of turning common pond-scum algae into fuel has already created nearly 300 biotech jobs and could generate even more.
The San Diego Association of Governments told the Los Angeles Times that the unique biofuel has created an annual economic impact of about $33 million, including $16 million in payroll.
“It’s a critical industry, and it’s kind of exploded,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said. “It’s going to create a tremendous number of jobs.”
The idea of processing scum into a substitute for gasoline and jet fuel has an allure because algae grows fast and does not require particularly high-quality water to thrive. Large “aquafarms” have, in fact, already opened in the Imperial County desert between San Diego and Arizona.
There are doubters, however. The Times said Thursday that some skeptical scientists and investors say not enough is known about algae biofuel, and the process is still more expensive than petroleum refining.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International