INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Green fuels, solar power and electro-magnetic technology topped the list of energy issues discussed during U.S. Rep. Bill Posey’s tour of Indian River and Brevard counties Tuesday morning.
In Fellsmere, the Rocklegde Republican visited with representatives from PetroAlgae Inc. to learn about the company’s large-scale production of biofuels.
“We’re taking this opportunity to look at the positive things that are happening in the district in regard to energy,” Posey told Fred Tennant, chief marketing officer for PetroAlgae. “Today we will see firsthand the progress that is being made by local developers of clean energy technology.”
PetroAlgae is licensing a micro-crop technology that they hope will someday replace fossil fuels. At the small-scale outdoor production site west of Fellsmere, about 150 different micro-organisms are grown in modular trays and harvested several times a day. The crop is processed into two products: a carbohydrate-rich solid that’s used as substitute for petroleum in an oil refinery; and a second product that can be used as a protein source in animal feed.
“Everyone wants renewable energy because the sources for non-renewable energy are growing low,” said John Scott, chairman of PetroAlgae. He added that the PetroAlgae product could be used by an existing refinery as a replacement for petroleum and produce clean, viable fuel.
Tennant said company officials have been meeting with key legislators in Washington to muster support for clean fuels. It was Posey’s second visit to the farm since he was elected to Congress last year.
“I sat with the congressman in Washington, and he’s extremely receptive to what we’re doing here in Fellsmere,” he said. “When he was out here before, we weren’t as far along in development, and it’s important to us that he knows how well we’re doing.”
Posey, whose tour also took him to AML Energy in Palm Bay and the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, said America needs a comprehensive energy policy with incentives for developing clean, renewable energy.
“What PetroAlgae, Advance Magnet Lab and the Florida Energy Center offer us is a glimpse into the future of powering our country and a demonstration of what’s possible,” Posey said.
After touring the facility, Posey stopped to meet some of the plant’s 100 employees.
“We want to make sure that you get a fair shake in Washington,” Posey told PetroAlgae executives. “We want to make this site the center of the PetroAlgae world.”