Pentagon way-out research arm Darpa and Predator dronemaker General Atomics are teaming up to try to turn algae into jet fuel. The Defense Department announced the $20 million deal earlier in the week.
The idea is to “demonstrate and ultimately commercialize the affordable production” of an algae-based surrogate for JP-8 jet fuel by 2010. The work is going to be spread all over the country, from the Scripps Institutions of Oceanography near San Diego to Hawaii Bio Energy in Honolulu to the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental research center. General Atomics also seems to have pulled down an extra $4 million in Congressional pork money to set up a plant-fuel research facility at Eastern Kentucky University.