The Madeleine Brand Show for January 18, 2012

California alternative energy: Oil from algae

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KPCC/Molly Peterson

"Lightsabers" poke down into a tank of algae to speed its growth before the cell walls of the tiny organisms are weakened and lipids squeezed out for oil.

One issue that looms large in California is alternative energy. The state already leads the nation in use of electric vehicles and solar roofs. Now, several California companies are hoping to add bio-fuels to the list. This week, Los Angeles based Origin Oil announced plans to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy to further develop technology to get oil from algae. Soon - what was once considered pond scum may become California's next big fuel source. Erik Anderson of KPBS reports.

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