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BP Ponies Up $10M For Algae Biofuels in Martek Deal

BP is ponying up $10 million for a partnership with Martek Biosciences to study the use of algae to convert sugar into biodiesel. BP isn’t the only oil major — or government agency — to show an interest in the prospect of commercially viable algal-based fuels. Just last month ExxonMobil committed $600 million in a partnership with Synthetic Genomics to develop next-generation biofuels from algae.

But this deal is different in one significant way: Martek uses fermentation technology, unlike other companies that use energy from sunlight to grow algae.

The investment numbers are small compared to the oil giant’s overall capital expenditure budget. BP invested $1.4 billion in alternative energy in 2008 and as the Financial Times notes, that number has dropped to between $500 million and $1 billion this year.
 
 

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