A story in today’s Los Angeles Times reports on San Diego’s burgeoning algae industry, and quotes Mayor Jerry Sanders on the potential impact of algae-based biofuels on the local economy.

The story treads over much of the same ground that we covered in January on breakthroughs local researchers and companies have made in converting algae to oil, and the hurdles they still have to overcome in order for it to become a commercially viable fuel.

Here is what Sanders had to say:

“It’s a critical industry, and it’s kind of exploded,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said. “There’s a long pattern of huge companies being spawned out of [UC San Diego] and our other research centers, and it’s going to create a tremendous number of jobs.”

What Sanders doesn’t address, and the Times story barely does, is that while San Diego is undoubtedly a hub for algae research, it is far from certain that the region will end up being a hub for algae-based fuel production — which is where most of the jobs are. As I noted yesterday, one local company just opened its production facility in New Mexico.

DAVID WASHBURN

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