San Diego’s Carbon Capture Pulls Out as Synthetic Genomics Moves In

5/30/12Follow @bvbigelow

Synthetic Genomics, the San Diego startup developing microorganisms to synthesize biofuels and other products, said it has acquired an 81-acre site in Calipatria, CA, to expand beyond its laboratory tests of algae. Synthetic Genomics’s expansion appears to be counter-balanced, though, by a business consolidation at Carbon Capture, another San Diego algal biofuels developer.

The price of the land was not disclosed. In its statement last week, Synthetic Genomics said it plans to use the desert site near the southeast shore of the Salton Sea, about 140 miles east of San Diego, to test new algal strains that it has isolated or bio-engineered. Synthetic Genomics noted that the desert site already has 42 open ponds that range in size from 100 gallons to 240,000 gallons. The property was previously a Carbon Capture facility, according to Heather Kowalski, a Synthetic Genomics spokeswoman.

Carbon Capture, according to its website, was formed in 2006 with the goal of reducing global warming and developing algae as a source for sustainable fuels and animal feed. The Carbon Capture website includes photos of several racetrack-shaped ponds the company built for growing algae, including the one I posted above.

As I noted in 2008, San Diego-based Carbon Capture was focused on ways to use algae to absorb carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants. Until recently, Carbon Capture’s website said it intended to generate revenue from the sale of algae-produced liquid fuels such as jet fuel, renewable diesel, and biomethane, as well as algae-based animal feed products. The company also identified government grants and other revenue sources, such as technology licensing and consulting services to power plant operators and oil companies.

In 2012 greetings posted elsewhere on its website, Carbon Capture says it’s “now focusing on production of fish feed, while continuing to cooperate with federal agencies and private parties” to reduce … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • fatalgae

    Genetically modified algae will never be allowed in raceway ponds by the environmentalists.  Every pond in New Mexico crashed last summer or had serious contamination issues. 

    • Guest

      Many of those seft-appointed environmentalists drink and eat products derived from genetically modified crops probably everyday.

    • Smayfield

       Fatalgae,
        Why do you continue to make stuff up like “every pond in Mew Mexico crashed last summer or had serious contamination issues” this is completely false and shows that you have some agenda that has nothing to do with the industry.  You need to concentrate on running your for profit national algae association and stop trashing the algae community with false statements.  This is going to come back to bite you.

  • fatalgae

    Heard Exxon pulled out of Synthetic Genomics.  Is it true?