A Brunswick Community College project is encouraging students to think outside the box to develop an alternative fuel resource. Students in the Aquaculture and Biotechnology programs are working on a project that will allow them to extract oil from algae and convert it into biodiesel. Biotechnology instructor Michelle Sabaoun estimates 50 percent of the collected algae will be converted into usable oil. She says this method creates a biodiesel that pollutes half as much as diesel. Sabaoun hopes the fuel will eventually be used to power tractors on BCC's campus. "There's a lot of companies working on this methodology. The problem is, once the technology is developed, it's not shared. So BCC, it's all a public-run institution, we're focused on student training," said Sabaoun. Eleven students are working under a grant from an organization called Bio-Network. They hope to get more funding to help with the next step in the process, which is extracting the oil from the algae. Since algae isn't a food source, using it for biodiesel doesn't have the same affect using soybeans, corn, or vegetable oil might have on food prices.
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