Researchers at Utah State University and around the country are trying to identify strains of algae that could someday provide fuel for the United States military.
The Pentagon-funded project, which is about 6 months old, is aimed at fast-tracking research to eventually produce algae-based biofuel that costs less than $3 per gallon, can be produced at a rate of 50 million gallons per year and meets strict military standards.
The work builds on previous research that showed algae can produce fatty oils that would work for biofuels. The biggest challenge is producing it on a large enough scale and at a cheap enough price.
For the project, the Defense Department awarded $35 million in contracts to two defense contractors that have, in turn, signed research contracts with several universities and private firms.