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Could Your Car Run on Algae?

Could Your Car Run on Algae?

Is “green gas” an oxymoron? Not according to San Diego–based Sapphire Energy.

The local company claims it can create a fuel that’s green in more ways than one. Created from algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and non-potable water, their emerald-colored crude oil is an ultra-clean offshoot of gasoline and diesel.

The company insists that its new green-based gas is chemically equivalent to the light, sweet crude oil that has been draining our pocket books and making speculators rich at over $136 a barrel in New York futures trading.

The radical new solution is totally independent of fossil fuels or biodiesel. It doesn’t even require ethanol, or any other crop- or sugar-based biofuels (which directly impact food prices, the destruction of cropland, fresh-water reservoirs and the rainforest). Instead Sapphire’s process uses completely renewable, carbon-neutral products produced directly from CO2 and sunlight, efficiently generating green crude from one of the world’s oldest, most adaptable plants: algae. And unlike ethanol and biodiesel fuels, which rely on grown feedstocks — corn, sugar, switchgrass, trees — Sapphire’s algae requires no feedstock.

Sapphire’s fuel products are chemically identical to molecules in crude oil, making their products entirely compatible with the current energy infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines. That means, the new fuel produced from this green crude could power that gas hog sitting in your garage.

Sapphire’s process could help reduce the nation’s reliance on imported crude and help end worries about our dwindling supply of oil. Using carbon dioxide spewed out by coal plants, the production process would help remove harmful emissions from the atmosphere. The green crude also would produce fewer pollutants in the refining process and fewer harmful emissions from vehicle tailpipes.

While algae currently makes up only a tiny fraction of the fuel market, worldwide, it can be commercialized faster than other technologies. In fact, Sapphire plans to go full bore with pilot testing, producing 100 barrels of green crude per day, then up to 1,000, all the way to 10,000 barrels daily. If that model works, it will put biofuel on the fast track. Cultivation ponds drawing water from farms, waste-streams, tainted reservoirs, the ocean and other sources would quickly cover the southern half of the U.S., each producing three to four million gallons per year. Hello green, good-bye OPEC.

Image credit: danramarch via Flickr

 

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Alex A. Kecskes

As owner/president of AK CreativeWorks, Alex A. Kecskes is a national award-winning writer/blogger/journalist who has written over 2,000 published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, careers, consumer tech, arts/entertainment and many other topics. He also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Follow Alex on twitter at https://twitter.com/TopWordsmith.

52 comments

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5:51AM PDT on Oct 19, 2014

Live long and prosper

4:22PM PDT on Jul 20, 2014

Yes indeed, algae biofuel and green energy from algae is very interesting. You may want to find more interesting news on algaeasia.com.

12:49PM PDT on Jul 20, 2014

Very interesting information. I wonder how long it will take those with shares in the oil industry to bury this in favour of the nasty stuff?!

I can absolutely see algae working as a fuel. Why wouldn't it?

6:25AM PDT on Jul 20, 2014

Thank you for interesting article

4:37AM PDT on Jul 20, 2014

Interesting

2:20AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Interesting article, thank you

9:09AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

ty

3:52AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

The simplest form of life as the first and the most useful one

3:23AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

If it is affordable and environmentally friendly lets explore this more and see if we can make it work .

2:42AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

interesting article

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks for the helpful tips.

Lots to think about.

Interesting article. thank you for caring and sharing.

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