In Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund has invested $150,000 into Manta Biofuel LLC, a company that produces crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with traditional petroleum.
The promise is this: Manta could one day skim algae right off of the Chesapeake Bay and convert it into oil, simultaneously cleaning up deadly algae blooms and providing the precursor for clean, renewable fuels. Manta licensed its harvesting technology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where company co-founder Ryan Powell invented it while earning his Ph.D. at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET).
Based in Reisterstown, Manta has also received more than $530,000 in total funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Invest Maryland Challenge, TEDCO Technology Validation Program (TVP) and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technologies REEF program. The company recently established a large pilot production facility in Thurmont, Md.