In the heart of Los Angeles, oil is being produced. Not the dirty, black variety you have to drill for, but the clean, green kind that can be manufactured … anywhere.

At an exclusive event last Thursday night, OriginOil unveiled its breakthrough technology to transform algae, a promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum. After years of research and development, the company is ready to go commercial with their new technology.

While guests sipped algae martinis, technicians in white lab coats provided guided tours of the company’s in-house pilot system, which includes a live extraction system, designed to “milk” algae oil without destroying algae cultures, and a bioreactor prototype specifically designed for wastewater applications.

Algae is versatile and its benefits are diverse. Algae oil can be used in pharmaceuticals, plastics and jet fuel, without the environmental impact of petroleum. Algae biomass can replace corn, sugar or other oil-producing feedstock without destroying farmlands or rainforests and without keeping food from the hungry. Algae can also treat wastewater, bringing fresh water and sanitation to millions.

But perhaps most importantly, algae could be a game changer in energy production and deliver clean tech jobs. Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO explains: “Algae will be local. Unlike today’s centralized energy systems, algae will go wherever the CO2 is, and that’s everywhere.”

He continued, “Algae systems will be attached to wastewater plants, factories, breweries, and any other location that generates CO2. This will lead to highly distributed energy production model and will truly deliver the jobs creation that we so urgently need in this country and the world.”

Here's my interview with Riggs Eckelberry:

Sarah Backhouse hosts the online daily environmental news show Planet 100 for PlanetGreen.com.

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