Desert Shrimp Farmers Switch to Algae

It seems like everyone is getting in on the algae-to-fuel business. Lately, it’s shrimp farmers from the Arizona desert. Desert Sweet Shrimp, a shrimping aquaculture venture founded in 1995, is in the process of transitioning to become Desert Sweet Biofuels. The company officially launched its algae-to-biodiesel business this weekend, and reportedly hopes to start producing biodiesel in the next three to four months.

“Shrimp farmers don’t raise shrimp, they raise algae,” Gary Wood, owner of Desert Sweet Shrimp, explained to Red Orbit. But there’s more to making biodiesel than simply growing algae. Wood is still experimenting to see what strain of algae will work best. While over a dozen startups have raised millions of dollars to perfect their algae production and squeezing methods, Desert Sweet doesn’t appear to have raised a lot of venture capital. The company is just using its shrimp husbandry know-how to help grow its feedstock for its new line of business.

Desert Sweet hopes to be able to produce biodiesel for $3 a gallon from its 50 aquaculture ponds. Located in Gila Bend, Ariz., warm nights and plentiful sunshine should allow rapid algae growth, enough to produce 5,000 gallons of biofuel per acre in two years, the company hopes. (For skeptics wondering how green raising shrimp in the desert is, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program may calm your fears.) Whether these production margins and scale are big enough to support a smaller player in the nascent algae-to-biofuel business has yet to be seen.

Images courtesy of Desert Sweet Biofuels.

Coming Soon: The Cisco Blade Server?

The movement toward blade servers in the enterprise data center has been growing steadily for some time, backed by manufacturers like IBM and HP. But expect to soon see networking giant Cisco Systems enter this market as well, setting themselves up for a tense battle with blade server manufacturers for control of the enterprise data center. [digg=]

Earlier this year Cisco introduced their next generation of data center switches, the Nexus 7000 series. While many in the industry saw this announcement as playing catch-up to the likes of Force10 in the data center switching market, the blade server market took notice. Cisco is not a blade server manufacturer -– they are a networking company pushing the envelope of their areas of expertise in an attempt to keep their place in the enterprise data center. They already produce Linux-based blades for their Catalyst 6500 Series switches, so it seems logical to expect that a blade server will appear shortly in the Nexus 7000 Series. Read More about Coming Soon: The Cisco Blade Server?