LiveFuels raises $10M to turn algae into alternative fuel

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livefuels.jpgLiveFuels, a Menlo Park, Calif. company seeking to turn algae into an alternative fuel, has raised a $10 million round of capital.

The investor was David Gelbaum at the Quercus Trust, which has previously backed environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Wildlands Conservancy.

We reported earlier that LiveFuels was looking to raise the money, and ran a column by LifeFuels’ founding investor Rich Hilt about why using algae makes sense.

Why algae? Well, as the company puts it, the slimy critters…
* are naturally comprised of up to 60 percent oil.
* grow happily in marginalized lands where corn fears to tread.
* can be grown in fresh or brackish water (saltier water algae are oilier)
* thrive on sunlight, CO2 and nutrient rich agricultural run-off and waste.
* offer per acre yields that are 250 times that of soybeans.

You know things are hot in the clean-tech area when several algae companies emerge to do the same thing. Berkeley s Aurora BioFuels and Menlo Park’s Solazyme Inc. have also raised recent rounds.

LiveFuels hopes to have its biofuel ready by 2010.

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