BEAR Oceanics has designed and tested a self-sustaining robot farm to grow algae for biofuel. The robot farm relies solely on wind and solar power to grow and process algae into nearly 5 gallons of biofuel per day, all the while steering clear of boats and ships (and presumably birds and sea mammals) and towards an onshore unloading point. The robot farm would also be able to grow more algae from the remaining algae sludge after processing.
According to BEAR engineer Rudy Behrens, the robot farm would cost an estimated US$1,200 and 140 man hours and could end up producing biodiesel for between 30 to 60 cents per gallon. Even after adding taxes and the cost of getting the biofuel to your local refueling station, you would probably still pay under a dollar per gallon. The project also has a leg up over other biofuel projects in that there would no toxic waste streams, no GMOs, and no invasive species unleashed into the environment.
BEAR Oceanics is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter to start building their first full-size robot farm.