To owners of aquariums, algae is annoying. But to inventor Isaac Berzin, algae represents the future of energy. His Cambridge start-up, GreenFuel Technologies Corp., is launching a new technology platform that he believes will thrust the familiar green gunk into the center of hot-button debates around air pollution, global warming, and energy independence.
That's a lofty claim considering that the company's inventions are designed to harness such a simple substance. In addition to its ability to breed rapidly, algae has two lesser-known properties. First, algae can absorb waste gases such as carbon dioxide. Second, once algae is infused with carbon, it can be dried and burned instead of coal or along with coal to produce energy.