One of the federal energy labs charged with getting us to the next generation of American energy is thinking "algae." I recently blogged about Origin Oil in southern California, their algae-based bioreactors designed to produce hydrocarbons to compete with traditional fossil fuels. Origin's tech is targeted at fundamentally changing our source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies. Algae bioreactors are completely independent of the current agricultural and silvicultural use of land. Now OriginOil (OOil) and the The United States Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have a co-operativre research program. The research will focus on validation and commercial scaling of OOil’s technology in the production of algae-based fuels by utilizing the state-of-the-art equipment, capabilities, scientists and engineers of the INL. This initial phase starts immediately. It'll focus on the collaborative development of an energy balance model for photobioreactor-based algae systems.