The Solix Biofuels Company out in the Colorado Desert is one of about 200 companies trying to find a way to make biofuels out of algae by extracting its natural oils.
The company has found an investment partner in the nearby Southern Ute Indian Tribe, whose reservation sits on top of an enormous natural gas field, providing Solix with the land, carbon dioxide and water that their process needs.
But according to Solix CEO Doug Henston, the success of the project will ultimately depend on how cheaply they can produce this alternative form of energy to compete with the price of traditional oil.
In this video from the NewsHour's Science Unit, correspondent Tom Bearden reports on efforts by scientists to turn algae into clean fuel.
"In looking at algae growth, when you see what the inputs are, its a great match with the gas industry, which is kind of nice. If we can take output from one industry or one sister company and use it, and make money off it in another way, that's great. Why wouldn't we do it?" - Rebecca Kauffman, Southern Ute Alternative Energy
"As Indian people, we're always looking long-term. That's one of the unique advantages we have as an Indian tribe, is, we can look long-term, where we're not so much looking quarter to quarter. We're looking for generations down the road. So, this is a long -- everything that we do is pretty much a long-term investment." Bruce Valdez, Southern Ute Growth Fund
1. What is alternative energy? Name different sources of alternative energy?
2. Why are scientists searching for alternative energy sources?
1. Do you think this form of alternative energy will work? Explain.
2. Are you worried about global warming? Do you think that it is important for researchers to look for alternative sources of energy? Why?
3. Would you drive a car that runs on an alternative source of fuel like biodiesel? Why or why not?
4. Who are the people working on alternative energy in this video-- what kinds of jobs do they have? What kinds of classes would you need to take to do that?