Local Company Featured in Documentary

July 27, 2009 9:17:54 PM PDT
A Fresno based company is featured in the documentary "Fuel." The movie about alternative energy premiered at the Tower Theater Monday night.Emerald Energy was showcased in the movie because of its development of the MegaFlora Tree. The company says the tree's roots effectively clean up marginal soil while the tree itself can be used to develop bio-fuel.

"Fuel" shows how bio-technology can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The movie features Ray Allen, CEO of Emerald Energy. Allen said, "I had never dreamed that I would be in a movie but if you're gonna be a movie it's very easy to play yourself."

Allen developed the MegaFlora Tree eight years ago. A grove of trees was planted near a Selma dairy just 60 days ago to help clean the soil of contaminants. The trees grow quickly and can reach 65-feet in three years. The trees earned Allen, an Oklahoma native, an invitation to visit the Westlands Water District. Allen said the district wanted "to take a look at the tree, see if it will help remediate soil of salts, selenium, boron on the west side. It uses very little water."

Allen says wood chips can be gassified before being turned into liquid fuel. Once you cut the tree down, it grows back to full size in three years.

"Fuel" won the best documentary award at the Sundance Film Festival. As a result, Ray Allen has met numerous celebrities at screenings, including U2 front-man Bono. Allen said, "To be meeting Bono and having him wanting my picture with him and I didn't know who he was."

The star treatment is something new for this botanist and his business partner. Tony Green said, "Personally I was excited they were using their celebrity for the betterment of mankind."

Ray Allen initially turned down an offer to be in the film but now he's talking about a possible sequel.

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