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Algae as the Next-Generation Energy Source?

Biology can lead to changes in how the planet is powered, Synthetic Genomics CEO, Dr. J. Craig Ventor, told CNBC. He shared his research and progress with CNBC's "Power Lunch" crew.

"There's a lot of different avenues underway that biology can change the game for all of us," Venter said.

Ventor and his company have been collecting genomes around the world in search of a next-generation energy source, most notably algae-converted energy.

Venter estimates a 10-year timeframe before algae conversion can be produced on a scale that can translate to gas in people's tanks. His company is also working with BP in converting coal to methane—for which he give a five-year timeline.

Exxon has committed $600 million to funding research in this area.

While extracting energy from algae is "easy," mass-producing remains a challenge.

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