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Sen. Bill Nelson touts algae-based fuel at south Lee plant

FORT MYERS — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson came to Fort Myers this morning to showcase his proposal to offer tax incentives to algae-based fuel producers.Nelson, D-Fla., took a tour of the Algenol plant off Alico Road and talked legislative strategy with company leaders, who praised Nelson’s plan.

Nelson said algae-based fuels represent a promising step toward reducing U.S. foreign dependence on oil and creating new jobs in a weak economy. Algenol makes ethanol from algae.

“I want you to succeed and I want you to succeed big time,” Nelson told executives.

The tax incentive would amount to $1.01 per gallon of biofuel produced using algae and would cost $500,000 before it expired in 2013, Nelson said.

Algenol executives, though, said the most important benefit of the tax break is being put on an equal tax footing with competitors that use cellulose to produce fuel and already get the credit. That will help free up financing for new projects, they said.

Algenol has plans to build a pilot production plant on 40 acres off Alico Road, where the company already has its offices and research labs.

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