All-powerful algae

Energy Business News has reported the Thai state-owned oil and gas producer PTT Public Company Limited (PTT) has partnered with the CSIRO to begin steps toward producing biofuel from algae by 2017.

According to The Nation, PTT will use the knowledge gained from the partnership to research the potential production of algae-derived biofuels for the Thai marketplace.

The article also suggested PTT will investigate the viability of setting up its own biofuel production plants in Australia, because Australia’s climate offers one of the best environments in the world to grow marine micro-algae.

In the article, president and chief executive officer of PTT Pailin Chuchottaworn said: “Oil extracted from micro-algae is considered the third generation of biofuel and it is also one of our key milestones to maintain the country’s energy security.”

Dr Chuchottaworn said while the partnership with the CSIRO was only in its early stages, it offered the company significant opportunities. The Australian science agency, he said, could exchange know-how and expertise with PTT’s research centre, which could then be used in researching the usefulness of up to five potential strains of freshwater algae.

A PTT spokesperson said US$600 million has been earmarked for an algae-derived biofuel program at ExxonMobil, with a view to developing the biofuel by 2019.