Biofuel company eyes area: If deal goes through, Saline County would be first site in nation for algae-based fuel
Saline County is on the verge of leading a historical breakthrough in renewable fuel.
Green Star Products Inc. announced today, July 31, that EcoAlgae USA has received a signed resolution from the Saline County Commissioners to construct a commercial algae production facility in conjunction with an integrated biorefinery complex.
The EcoAlgae project will involve algae production at the heart of this biorefinery complex because its high production biomass feedstock only requires sunlight, CO2 and brackish or saltwater.
"(This will be) the first facility of its type in the nation," said Marshall-Saline Development Corporation Executive Director Roy Hunter, the man who spearheaded this project. "It's going to bring national recognition to Saline County as a renewable fuels region."
"(This) should make us a home base for research and advanced renewable fuels in the future."
According the United Biorefineries Corporation algae produce 100 times more oil per acre than traditional food oilseed crops.
Patrick LaStella of Green Star Products has been on the record saying, "This is the only answer to our fuel crisis."
Other benefits listed by the United Biorefineries Corporation are that algae can reproduce themselves and their oil every six hours, algae eat CO2 and produce oxygen, algae do not compete with food crops for either agricultural land or fresh water, and the oil byproduct is a highly nutritious, protein- rich food.
"The biorefinery will be the first of its kind and will incorporate all the technologies to produce oil, cattle feed, electricity, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and steam," the company said in a press release.
The commissioners have already stated their intent to issue $141 million of Saline County's industrial development revenue bonds to finance this project.
"If the company meets all requirements they (commissioners) will issue the bonds," said Hunter. "You're probably looking at a 60-90 day time frame before bonds are issued, that's if everything goes really well."
Before bonds can be issued, EcoAlgae must create an economic development plan, make development plans, get their site permitted, and comply with any other statutes in Missouri law.
The county commission will also hold a public hearing to address any questions or concerns
"No tax dollars will be used," assured Hunter. "There is absolutely no risk to the county or the commission."
Hunter said if the project goes through, it would likely create 40 new jobs during the first phase of production.
"EcoAlgae USA and all the participants that have been working on this Missouri project for over one year would like to congratulate Saline County and its commissioners for having the insight to provide the opportunity to build the most advanced eco-friendly biorefinery of the future," said the press release.
Using algal oil as a fuel source has been a subject of research for scientists since the 1980s.
Contact Travis Watts at