Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gasoline from Algae More than a Gimmick?

Regular readers of Pound360 know we're big fans of using algae to create energy. Recently we discussed how hydrogen can be captured from massive algae vats to power cities (if they can get the cost of the process low enough, of course).

But a San Diego company, Sapphire Energy, is working on crude oil made from algae,
reports New Scientist. Yes, they claim, this stuff can "go right into today's oil pipeline" and be refined into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, anything you want!

Sounds too good to be true. Well, we're sure they can do it, but what kind of scale can we expect? Will it be enough to make a dent in the
20 million barrels we Americans consume each day?

According to the New Scientist write up, the company expects to hit a 10,000 barrel-per-day production clip by 2013. And it doesn't mention anything about cost. Does it cost $10 to make a gallon of algae gas? Well, if prices keep rising the way they have been lately, it might make sense.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.