EL PASO, TX. - With gas in the Sun city still hovering around $3 dollars a gallon, the race is on to develop alternative fuel sources.
One leg of that race is right here in the borderland where a special project has sprouted up. The plant for the plants look like greenhouses in El Paso's Upper Valley. And in many ways, they are. But visitors won't find roses growing inside. Just bags and bags of algae.
Believe it or not, all the green slime could just be the cure for the world's so-called 'pain at the pump.' The algae is used to make bio-diesel. As the slime grows, it makes a kind of vegetable oil. "Just like you'd find sunflower seed or soybean," said one of the plant's owners and head of Valcent Products, Glen Kertz. Doug Frater is the CEO of Global Green Solutions and the two men are calling their join venture Vertigro.
Both say choosing the El Paso area for their site was a no-brainer. "El Paso has 340 plus days of sunshine," Kertz said, grinning. Most of the people who work all the gadgets and gauges are homegrown, from right here in the borderland. "They're the best crew I've ever worked with," Kertz added. Vertigro hopes to begin producing enough bio-diesel to sell commercially by mid to late 2008.