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Southern Ute algae biofuel project focus of Nov. 18 talk

News Release — 9 November 2009


Media contact: Sue Stevens, Senior Media Relations Officer, 817-272-3317,

ARLINGTON - Bruce Valdez, executive director of the Colorado-based Southern Ute Growth Fund, and Rebecca Kauffman of the Southern Ute Alternative Energy Department will discuss the tribe's venture into algae farming for fuel at The University of Texas at Arlington.

The event, marking National Native American Heritage Month, will be at noon Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Room 121, Science Hall, 502 Yates St. It is free and open to the public.

The Ute biofuel project, the subject of an August feature story in The New York Times, involves growing algae and converting it into biofuel. Algae, like corn, soybeans, sugar cane and other plants, use photosynthesis to convert solar energy into chemical energy. This energy is stored in the form of oils, carbohydrates and proteins.

The plant oil can be converted to biodiesel, a form of solar energy. The more efficient a particular plant is at converting that solar energy into chemical energy, the better it is from a biodiesel perspective. Algae are among the most photosynthetically efficient plants on earth.

Valdez also will discuss the business ventures of the Southern Utes, one of the most successful American Indian tribes at economic development in the United States.

"The business community, people interested in sustainability and those who believe that traditional Native values and high-tech science can be combined will be interested in this program," said UT Arlington English Professor Kenneth Roemer, adviser to the Native American Student Association.
The event is sponsored by the Native American Students Association, the Honors College, Student Governance and the Department of English. Parking is available at the Maverick Parking Garage, 708 S. West St.

Contact Kenneth Roemer,, for more information.


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