"IGNACIO, Colo. -- An unusual experiment featuring equal parts science, environmental optimism and Native American capitalist ambition is unfolding here on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwest Colorado.
With the twin goals of making fuel from algae and reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, a start-up company co-founded by a Colorado State University professor recently introduced a strain of algae that loves carbon dioxide into a water tank next to a natural gas processing plant. The water is already green-tinged with life.
The Southern Utes, one of the nation's wealthiest American Indian communities thanks to its energy and real-estate investments, is a major investor in the professor's company. It hopes to gain a toehold in what tribal leaders believe could be the next billion-dollar energy boom.
But from the tribe's perspective, the business model here is about more than business."