Grant Making New Types of Energy Possible in Pecos

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

PECOS - Imagine running your car not on your regular gas, but on plant-like algae. It may not sound like it's even possible, but thanks to a multi-million dollar grant awarded Monday, it may be in West Texas' future. Four million dollars of grant money announced by Governor Rick Perry will go towards research at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research Center in Pecos.

"If this works, the sky's the limit. I mean, they're talking 2000 acres worth of algae ponds out here in the next two or three years," said Jimmy Martinez, the manager at the Agricultural Research Center.

Lots of algae will soon be grown and tested in Pecos. Now the work is on to make sure everything is ready for a new type of energy.

"The algae is converted pretty easy into a high grade diesel. The algae is not really more oil, but really the future is a high grade diesel," said Martinez.

Manager Jimmy Martinez showed NewsWest 9 around the research center Monday, including the laboratory and greenhouse, where they plan on testing many different types of algae.

"And from the labs and in the greenhouse, we'll go out here to where the ponds are going to be built," explained Martinez.

And the ponds they hope will be finished by the summer will be critical to converting the algae into usable energy. Martinez also said the area's groundwater in Pecos is excellent for this kind of research.

"We have four wells with four different varieties of salt and the content of this water, none of them are the same," added Martinez.

But if the research is a success, folks from the Basin all the way to El Paso will see the benefits.