From Shrimp Farming to Alternative Fuels

I love hearing stories about people turning lemons into lemonade, or in this case, shrimp into algae. That’s impossible, you say! Not according to a shrimp farmer in Southwestern Arizona. Yes, that’s right; a shrimp farm in the desert. While he’s not necessarily turning shrimp into algae, a very creative farmer is using a slump in his shrimp farming business as an opportunity to come up with alternate uses for his farm. With enough investors, the farmer hopes to turn his land into a space that harvests alternative fuel. According to the farmer, harvesting algae is a very similar process to harvesting shrimp. The tricky part of the process is extracting oils from the algae that can then be used as alternative fuel. While the process is doable, it’s costly, making the alternative fuel undesirable in such a competitive marketplace. According to industry experts, the process has been around for quite some time, but nobody has been able to come up with a system to bring the cost of the alternative fuel down. About a year ago, I actually met with a company that was also trying to launch their plan of turning algae into alternative fuel. It seemed as if they were on the right path, much like the farmer in Southwestern Arizona. However, I haven’t heard anything more about their idea taking off. Considering the process is nearly 100% sustainable, I hope that someone is able to come up with an efficient process for creating alternative fuel. This could be another great step towards energy independence.

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