by Richard T. Stuebi
One of the hottest areas of cleantech investor activity in the past year has been algae. Yes, algae. More specifically, technologies that enable the production of fuels from algae.
The concept is premised on the fact that algae is a rapidly-growing organism that converts sunlight and atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce lipids, which in turn can be refined into various hydrocarbons. In other words, a carbon-neutral fuel cycle. Pretty cool.
A number of start-up companies — such as Solazyme, Live Fuels, Solix Biofuels and GreenFuel Technologies — have emerged in recent years to pursue this possibility, some fetching sizable quantities of capital from blue-chip investors.
I frequently receive emails with links to videos promising interesting energy/environmental technologies, and most strike me as quackery of some degree or another. However, I recently was pointed to a video produced by a company named Valcent Products (OTCBB: VCTPF) that appears particularly compelling. To be clear, I am not recommending this company or its stock, but I do like the tack that Valcent seems to be taking.